Cop Who Shot Black Man Was Reacting to Gun, Not Race, Says Lawyer
The Minnesota police officer whose fatal shooting of a black driver this week helped prompt nationwide protests against racial prejudice reacted to the man’s gun, not his race, his lawyer has said.
Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer in St Anthony, a Minneapolis suburb, “was reacting to the presence of a gun” when he shot Philando Castile, Minneapolis attorney Thomas Kelly told The New York Times.
Castile was shot after informing the officer that he had a gun and a permit to carry, and then reaching for his wallet, according to Reynolds.
Castile, 32, was shot on Wednesday after he was pulled over in Falcon Heights, near Minneapolis, for a broken tail light. Amplifying the horror was the video live-streamed in the shooting’s aftermath by the slain man’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, as she sat in the passenger seat. Her four-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat.
He was the second black man in two days fatally shot by US police. They are the latest in a string of similar cases that have fueled outrage across the United States, from city streets to the White House.
Although Kelly provided the fullest account so far of Yanez’s version of the shooting on Wednesday, many details remain unclear. Yanez, who is Latino, is on leave while the state authorities are investigating the shooting.
The fatal shooting of Castile and another black man, Alton Sterling, in Louisiana the previous day, prompted protests against police brutality toward African Americans under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement.