By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Not guilty on all counts. That is the verdict jurors reached in the trial of Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile after stopping his car in Falcon Heights last summer.

Prosecutors charged the officer with manslaughter. He says he shot in self-defense.

After the ruling, Castile’s mother was very emotional. She said she was disappointed and warned others “you could be next.”

“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. My son loved this state,” Valerie Castile said. “He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities. The state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”

Following the not guilty verdict, the city of St. Anthony announced Yanez would no longer be a police officer in that city.

Once the verdict was read, Valerie Castile used the F-word several times before storming out of the courtroom. Valerie and Allysza Castile, Philando’s sister, were paralyzed, in total disbelief that the officer responsible for shooting and killing Philando walked out of court Friday a free man.

(credit: CBS)

The past 29 hours of deliberations of the jury for the Castile family were painful. Family members told WCCO’s Reg Chapman they were anxious. They also said they truly believed the system would do what they felt in their hearts was right. But in the end, this family said they were let down by a process that they said is unfair to black men.

“There has always been a systemic problem in the state of Minnesota. Me thinking, with my common sense, that we would get justice in this case,” Valerie Castile said. “But nevertheless it never seems to fail us, the system continues to fail black people and they will continue to fail you all, like I said. Because this happened with Philando, when they get done with us they are coming for you, for you, for you and all your interracial children. Y’all are next.”

“I am really just so hurt because y’all took away, he took away something so precious from me. That was my brother, that was my mentor, that was my father figure, that was everything,” Allysza Castile said. “That man worked hard every single day. Every birthday, every Christmas. He was the one that made sure I had gifts. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did. And I will never have faith in this system. I will never have faith in this system.”

(credit: CBS)

Although this family and many who support them say they have no faith in the system, what they are calling for Friday night is peace. The family said what they need most right now is privacy so they can wrap around their heads what has happened and plan what is next.


Reg Chapman