MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The trial is underway for a St. Anthony police officer accused of killing a black man during a traffic stop.
The case gained national attention when Castile’s girlfriend livestreamed the moments following the shooting on Facebook.
Monday morning, attorneys on both sides cut down the jury pool and opening statements began.
The long wait is over as testimony in this trial is finally underway. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was the second witness called by the state. Her testimony will resume Tuesday morning.
A jury of six women and nine men, including two African-Americans — one male, one female — heard opening statements Monday.
Judge William Leary’s courtroom is the most crowded it’s been in the five days of jury selection as family and friends of both men, along with local and national media, fill it to capacity.
Prosecution attorney Rich Dusterhoff said Yanez is guilty of negligence, pointing out that “after learning there was a firearm he didn’t tell him (Castile) to freeze or put his hands up.”
They also played the squad video where you see the traffic stop and hear the rapid seven shots after Castile is told not to reach for it.
During Reynolds’ testimony, prosecutor Clayton Robinson asked her if indeed Castile had a gun on July 6. She told jurors: “Yes, he always had it. For protection for himself and his family.” The couple lived in a high crime area.
Attorneys for Yanez called the July 6 shooting tragic, but asked jurors to keep an open mind, and said: “This is an unending tragedy for the Castile family and Officer Yanez. But it is not a crime. Tragedy is not a crime.”
The judge will allow references to Castile’s permit to carry in audio recordings and testimony. But the defense will also be allowed to bring up the application for that permit and how it could have been denied had he revealed marijuana use on the application.