Jury Deliberations Underway in Officer Yanez Trial
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota jury has ended its first partial day of deliberations without a verdict in the trial of a police officer who fatally shot a black motorist last year during a traffic stop.
Jeronimo Yanez, a 29-year-old Latino officer, is charged in the July 6 death of Philando Castile. The officer shot the driver five times seconds after Castile told him he was carrying a gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon.
The jury heard closing arguments Monday and deliberated for about a half-day. Jurors will return Tuesday morning.
An attorney for a Minnesota police officer charged in the shooting death of a black motorist last year says the officer "did what he had to do."
Earl Gray urged a jury to clear officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON'-ih-moh) Yanez of a manslaughter charge in the July death of Philando Castile. Yanez shot the 32-year-old school cafeteria worker seconds after Castile informed him he had a gun during a traffic stop.
Gray used his closing argument to tell the jury that Yanez had plenty of justification for shooting. He says Yanez legitimately thought Castile was a robbery suspect. He says Castile was high on marijuana and didn't follow Yanez's orders.
And he says Yanez saw a gun and feared for his life.
Gray says the case is a classic example why guns and drugs don't mix.
A prosecutor is arguing that a Minnesota police officer never saw a gun before he shot and killed a black motorist last year during a traffic stop.
Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen is asking a jury to convict officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON'-ih-moh) Yanez of manslaughter in the July death of Philando Castile, who was shot seconds after telling the officer he was carrying a gun.
Yanez, who is Latino, testified last week that he saw a gun and that the driver, who was black, ignored his commands not to pull it out.
Paulsen reminded the jury that a bullet hit Castile in what would have been his trigger finger — but there was no bullet damage around his pocket where he had the gun.
He also argued Yanez could have taken steps short of shooting.