After Apparent Impasse In Yanez Trial, Jury Ends Day 3 Without Verdict

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — The jury considering the fate of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a black motorist appeared to be reaching levels of frustration on the third day of deliberations Wednesday.

Deliberations began again at 8:30 a.m. About an hour later, the jury alerted the judge that evidence bags containing Philando Castile’s shorts and gun holster, which are a biohazard because of blood, had become unsealed. The bags were resealed and given back to the jury.

Around 3 p.m., lawyers, family members and the jury all returned to the courtroom. The jury had reached an apparent impasse, and Judge William Leary told them to continue deliberations, saying “You should not surrender your honest opinion.”

Leary told them that it’s their job to listen to other juror’s opinions, as well.

The jury ended the day Wednesday without a verdict. Deliberations are set to begin again at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

On Tuesday, jurors requested another look at dashcam video captured by Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s squad car that shows the shooting of 32-year-old Castile. Yanez shot Castile five times last July during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb, just seconds after Castile informed him he was carrying a gun.

The jury also watched a replay of the video that Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed on Facebook beginning seconds after Castile had been shot.

No explanation was given for the request. The jury also requested transcripts of squad car audio and of Yanez’s statement to state investigators the day after the shooting, but the judge denied the request because defense attorneys did not agree.

Both videos requested Tuesday were played at trial.

The squad-car video shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.

Reynolds’ video of the gruesome aftermath of the shooting was shared widely, and included her statements that Castile hadn’t been reaching for his gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon. Defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in Reynolds’ statements to investigators to try to raise doubts about her honesty.

Defense attorneys contend the 29-year-old Latino officer was scared for his life and was justified in shooting Castile. Prosecutors insist Yanez never saw a gun and had plenty of options short of shooting Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker they say was never a threat.

The squad-car video shows Yanez approaching Castile’s car and asking for a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile appears to give something to Yanez through the driver’s side window. Castile is then heard saying, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.” Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez has his hand on his own gun and is pulling it out of the holster. There is shouting, and Yanez screams “Don’t pull it out!” before he fires seven shots into the car.

After the shooting, the video shows Yanez standing at the car window with his gun drawn for some time. Reynold’s then-4-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat, starts to get out of the car and is grabbed by an officer. The video then shows other police officers arriving at the scene. Officers direct Reynolds out of the car. Yanez is led away while officers pull Castile from the vehicle and begin CPR.

Yanez moves away from the camera’s view, but can be heard talking. He tells his supervisor that he didn’t know where Castile’s gun was and that he told him to take his hand off it. Yanez testified that he meant only that he didn’t see the gun at first. Witnesses testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile’s shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle.

Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though sentencing guidelines suggest around four years is more likely. He also faces two lesser counts of endangering Reynolds and her daughter for firing his gun into the car near them.

Conviction on the manslaughter charge requires the jury to find Yanez guilty of “culpable negligence,” which the judge described in jury instructions as gross negligence with an element of recklessness.

The 12-member jury includes two black people, and the remainder are white.

As deliberations entered the third day, #Justice4Philando Emergency Unit announced the group planned to gather at 7 p.m. at the Minnesota State Capitol on the day of the verdict, no matter the outcome.

The group was formed by Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Justice Occupation for Philando, and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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