MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO is learning more about the officers involved in the shooting of Philando Castile Wednesday night in Falcon Heights.
Investigators released the names Thursday night of St. Anthony Police Officers Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser.
Yanez is said to have repeatedly shot Castile during a traffic stop.
Both officers, who are four-year veterans of the department, are on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
Yanez graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato back in 2010, and worked in security-related fields before joining St. Anthony’s department. A search of court records also shows Yanez has no civil suits filed against him.
He is married and has a young child. Yanez has also been an active member of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers’ Association for the last year.
The association’s public information officer, John Lozoya, says he worked with Yanez on some community service events.
“He loves being a police officer,” Lozoya said. “He has a passion for helping others and that’s why he joined law enforcement.”
Yanez’s lawyer, Thomas Kelly, tells WCCO that his client feels incredibly sad for the Castile family and is working with investigators and St. Anthony Police.
Thomas says Yanez has no disciplinary action against him during his time with department, and says he is “community oriented and devoted to the police department,” with a “reputation of being a kind and generous man with empathy.”
WCCO requested information on the employment history for both officers from St. Anthony Police.
We asked questions regarding awards and commendations, as well as any disciplinary action. We also asked for information on whether the officers have ever discharged their weapons or if they worked for other departments in the state.
The department referred our questions to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
A BCA spokeswoman said they do not have that information on the officers.
The union that represents more than 5,000 officers in the state, including the St. Anthony Police Department, released a statement from Law Enforcement Labor Services executive director Sean Gormley.
“The death of Philando Castile is a terrible tragedy for all involved, especially for the family and loved ones of the deceased.
The video being shown in the media is graphic. It’s emotional. And for some it may be hard to watch.
We support an open, thorough, and objective investigation that we believe will, in time, provide the answers to the questions we all have.
We also support the officers’ right to due process. The right of due process is afforded to all Americans.”
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