More Questions Than Answers After Philando Castile Dashcam Video Release And Cop’s Acquittal [VIDEO]

More Questions Than Answers After Philando Castile Dashcam Video Release And Cop’s Acquittal [VIDEO]

More Questions Than Answers After Philando Castile Dashcam Video Release And Cop’s Acquittal [VIDEO]

When both right and left are united in their shock and anger about a case, that means that there are some truths that need to be addressed. The shooting death of Philando Castile by Officer Jeronimo Yanez in Minnesota is one of those cases.

Philando Castile
The story begins on July 6, 2016, when Philando Castile, his girlfriend, and his daughter, were pulled over in their vehicle by Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Here is the transcript and timeline of events.

9:05:00 p.m. — Castile’s vehicle came to a complete stop.
9:05:15 – 9:05:22 p.m. — Yanez approached Castile’s car on the driver’s side.
9:05:22 – 9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez exchanged greetings with Castile and told him of the brake light problem.
9:05:33 p.m. — St. Anthony Police Officer Joseph Kauser, who had arrived as backup, approached Castile’s car on the passenger’s side.
9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez asked for Castile’s driver’s license and proof of insurance.
9:05:48 p.m. — Castile provided Yanez with his proof of insurance card.
9:05:49 – 9:05:52 p.m. — Yanez looked at Castile’s insurance information and then tucked the card in his pocket.
9:05:52 – 9:05:55 p.m. — Castile told Yanez: “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Before Castile completed the sentence, Yanez interrupted and replied, “Okay” and placed his right hand on the holster of his gun.
9:05:55 – 9:06:02 p.m. — Yanez said “Okay, don’t reach for it, then.” Castile responded: “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…,” before being again interrupted by Yanez, who said “Don’t pull it out.” Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.”
Yanez screamed: “Don’t pull it out,” and pulled his gun with his right hand. Yanez fired seven shots in the direction of Castile in rapid succession. The seventh shot was fired at 9:06:02 p.m. Kauser did not touch or remove his gun.
9:06:03 – 9:06:04 p.m. — Reynolds yelled, “You just killed my boyfriend!”
9:06:04 – 9:06:05 p.m. — Castile moaned and said, “I wasn’t reaching for it.” These were his last words.
9:06:05 – 9:06:09 p.m. — Reynolds said “He wasn’t reaching for it.” Before she completed her sentence, Yanez screamed “Don’t pull it out!” Reynolds responded. “He wasn’t.” Yanez yelled, “Don’t move! F***!”
Reynolds started live-streaming onto Facebook about 40 seconds after the last shot.
Reynolds: “Stay with me, we got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back. And the police just he’s, he’s, he’s covered. He, they just killed my boyfriend.
Yanez: “F***.”
Reynolds: “He’s licensed. He’s carried, he is licensed lo carry.”
Yanez: “Ma’am, just keep your hands where they are.”
Reynolds: “I will sir. No worries. I will.”
Yanez: “F***!”
Reynolds: “He just shot his arm off. We got pulled over…”
Yanez: “F***.”
Reynolds: “…on Larpenteur.”
Yanez: “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off of it.”
Reynolds: “He had, you told him to get his ID, sir, and his driver’s license. Oh my God. Please don’t tell me he’s dead.”

The video is both disturbing and graphic.


And after watching it, people on the right and left are shaking their heads as to how Officer Yanez was acquitted of second degree manslaughter.


It’s pretty clear that the police officer point-blank panicked and ended up killing a man within seconds of face-to-face contact. And a case like this has brought up a lot of uncomfortable and terrible things.

First, legal gun owners will have to be even more vigilant. Castile, who had a permit for the pistol he carried, tried to do the right thing and informed Officer Yanez that he was armed. Officer Yanez, who up to this point had been calm, even accepting Castile’s insurance information from him with no problems, literally has his hand on his gun and is unholstering it immediately after being told by Castile that he has a gun on him. The time that elapsed from when Castile made that statement to Yanez’s first shot into the car? 8 SECONDS.

The Daily Caller published a piece after this shooting on what police want from concealed carriers during a traffic stop. The problem, of course, is that Castile tried to do the right thing and was killed for it. As David French points out:

If you read carefully, you’ll note that it appears that the officer shot Castile for doing exactly what the officer told him to do. Yanez asked for Castile’s license. Castile told him that he had a gun, and the officer – rather than asking for his carry permit, or asking where the gun was, or asking to see Castile’s hands – just says, “Don’t reach for it then.”

At that point, Castile is operating under two commands. Get his license, and don’t reach for his gun. As Castile reaches for his license (following the officer’s orders), and he assures him that he’s not reaching for the gun (also following the officer’s orders). The entire encounter, he assures Yanez that he’s following Yanez’s instructions.

He died anyway.

After this case, concealed carriers may be less inclined to let the officer pulling them over know that they are legally armed, when all that the officer wants to do is cite them for a broken tail light. Is that what they should do? No, but no legal carrier wants to run into the next panic-stricken version of Officer Yanez either. Having a legally permitted weapon on your person is not a crime, and should not be treated by the police as such. This case is going to have long effects on the CCW community.

Second, we must have an honest discussion about racial biases in policing. While race was not proven to be a known factor in this shooting, did it play into Yanez’s willingness to pull a gun and shoot Castile within 8 seconds? Just because it can’t be proven in a court of law doesn’t mean it’s not worth talking about. Erick Erickson had an excellent piece on just how much racial bias still plays a role in everyday life. Let’s not fall into the trap of the left insisting everything is racially biased, and the right insisting that the police are never wrong because they just want to go home at the end of their shift. There IS a middle ground, and it starts with looking at the Castile shooting and concluding, as both pundits on right and left did, that Castile did not deserve this, and Yanez should have been convicted. The post by NRA commentator Colion Noir, a well-respected name and personality in the firearms community, is also worth reading for its measured analysis and pointing out of racial biases.

I so badly wanted to keep race out of this. There are so many professional race baiters who thrive on and become rich from increasing the racial divide in this country. Because of this racial opportunism, it makes it hard to call out the more insidious elements of racism in this country vs. the isolated incidences where race doesn’t play a factor. Then again, considering other examples where “race” was legitimately a factor In previous shootings, I think it would be irresponsible not to consider race as a possible motive in this shooting.

All that being said, Philando Should be alive today. In my eyes, Yanez screwed up big time. I don’t feel he was out to take a black life that day, but it doesn’t matter because his actions cost Phliando his life. My legal mind can see why they couldn’t get to Manslaughter in the Second Degree based solely on the facts at hand, but Yanez walking away from this case a free and clear man is just wrong.

It is small comfort that Jeronimo Yanez will never again be a police officer, because he should have paid a much higher price than the loss of his job and career for taking a man’s life. He panicked, plain and simple. Whether he had actual cause to do so (Yanez claimed that he could smell marijuana in the car, and thought Castile resembled a robbery suspect – neither of which is mentioned in the initial contact between Yanez and Castile, which is all about proof of insurance and the broken tail light), it is indisputable that everything changed the second Philando Castile said, “Sir, I have to tell you that I have a firearm on me.”

This case and its verdict should shake us all.

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4 Comments
  • Scott says:

    Deanna,
    I think you nailed it, the officer panicked, but the only reason mentioned as a possibility as to why is race. I would suggest three other possibilities:
    1. The fact that the cop though he resembled a suspect, and the recent targeting of police.
    2. The cop may well have been biased- against gun owners, not minorities- gun owners, especially those who carry are regularly demonized by politicians and the press alike.
    3. Lack of training. This is often a factor in mistakes / panic by police.
    All three should be looked into, and yes, the officer should not have gotten off. Unlike the recent payoff to the “family” of the criminal michael brown, which was rediculous, this family should sue and win against the PD

  • GWB says:

    Mike The Cop did a video on how to handle yourself if you’re carrying and encounter a police officer (he did a second one on open-carry and dealing with police). It’s a great video, funny (especially the bit where the panicked driver simply chucks his gun out the window so the cop knows it’s there), with very good commentary both for cops and non-cops.

    But, if the cop happens to be that 1-in-a-million that loses his sh!t, none of that will matter.

    I wonder whether if someone had immediately started trauma first aid on Philando, he might have lived. Implicating Yanez even further in his death, since he held everyone at gunpoint after he fired the shots.

    If anyone wants to talk about a “tragic death”, this is one for the books. He was a decent human being, trying to follow the rules, and he got killed by a cop because of it.

  • Scotty G says:

    Sorry… but I am not buying that this PO should have been convicted. This is just one piece of evidence presented at the trial. The jury had more that this one video to work with.
    As to the conflicting commands – asking for ID and Don’t reach for it…. The way I see it in the video is that the PO asks for lic and reg… and is given at least one document by Castile. Fifteen seconds later Castile advises he has a firearm and the PO tells him NOT to reach for it three times before firing. Yeah it was only five seconds but he TOLD him not to reach for it 3 times in those five seconds.
    How close to the gun was Castiles hand? Was he reaching for it? Was he reaching for his wallet that was right next to the gun? We don’t know because we cannot see that in the video.
    There may be blame on both sides here, but to say that the PO should have been convicted based on this one video is a stretch.

    If I am advising a PO that I have a firearm…. You can bet that I am saying it with both of my hands on the wheel and will NOT move until directed to do so.

    Former LEO but that was a long time ago, so I think I can see both sides of this issue. Feel badly for all involved.

  • Scott says:

    Well put Scotty, I guess I should have said if the other evidence agrees with the video. The dead man and his woman are saying he’s not reaching for it, but of course they could be lying while he was going for it. The PO does seem far too jumpy… and yeah, bad day all around.

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