MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A manslaughter charge against a Twin Cities police officer is now in the hands of a 12 person jury.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez is accused of shooting and killing Philando Castile last July during a traffic stop.
Jurors got the case this afternoon and deliberated until around 4:30 p.m. before breaking. This case is personal for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, one of them is that we all saw the aftermath.
It was a case millions watched, millions made an opinion on. Now the opinions that matter are the jury’s.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen made his final plea to jurors late Monday morning.
“The evidence shows Officer Yanez is to blame, not victim,” he said.
He spoke of Philando Castile as a kind school cafeteria worker who paid close attention to kids’ allergies. He said that he was a good man, but not perfect because he used marijuana.
“He chose to use deadly force as a first option not a last resort,” Paulsen said of Officer Yanez.
A point Black Lives Matter supporters echoed after the prosecution rested.
“Mr. Castile was in fact in compliance. Mr. Castile was in no way, shape or fashion presenting some sort of threat,” Danny Givens said.
Defense attorney Earl Gray loudly spoke his last few words saying Castile prompted the whole incident.
“None of this would have happened if Philando Castile wasn’t smoking marijuana. None of this would have happened if Philando Castile would have followed orders,” he said.
He said Castile favored an armed robbery suspect and that put Officer Yanez on edge and he had a second and a half to act.
“We have him acknowledging he’s got a gun, might be a robber, those are the things going through Yanez’s head,” Gray said.
Gray also tried to discredit Diamond Reynolds’ accounts, saying her accounts didn’t add up, pointing to her marijuana use.
Gray left court after the jury was charged.
“I don’t really have much to say, we got the evidence in,” he said.
And now the say is up to a jury who will decide how the case the world’s watched will end.
There are three charges the jury has to decide. Manslaughter is the most serious. Both the defense and prosecution asked the jurors to use their common sense. The jurors were asked to be fair and act honestly.
Deliberations will resume Tuesday morning.