St. Paul, MN - Thousands of protesters have gathered and have taken over the streets after the verdict was announced in the Philando Castile Shooting.
The protesters are chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and carrying signs that say, "KKKOP$ bought the jury." Some vandalism is already visible; graffiti on buildings calls for "Justice for Philando."
Initial protests after the Philando Castile shooting started much the same way, but quickly escalated to full-blown rioting.
The thousands of protesters make for a difficult situation as it's unlikley that the protesters will all decide to peacefully go home. It would take a small miracle for everybody to choose to go home without acting out with violence.
Law enforcement in the area had extra resources ready for a potential riot, but the thousands of people present could be overwhelming.
We'll keep you updated on the protest and report back if it takes a violent turn. Pray for the safety of the officers in the area tonight.
UPDATE: protesters have taken over I-94 and are confronting police. Updates HERE.
Officer Yanez Fired
Immediately after the shooting of Philando Castile was ruled justified, the City of St. Anthony, where Officer Jeronimo Yanez worked, has announced that they would be firing Officer Yanez.
The city appears to be offering the officer some sort of separation package in exchange for going away quietly. No official word has been given if Officer Yanez will attempt to fight his termination.
In a statement, issued immediately after Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted, the city said:
“The City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer.”
The City of St. Anthony has offered few other details besides that Officer Yanez will never again be allowed to return to active duty, and that they still needed to negotiate terms with the officer.
After 27 hours of deliberation, on Friday at around 2 PM, a Ramsey county court issued the Philando Castile verdict and found Officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of all counts in the shooting of Philando Castile in July 2016.
St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez had stopped Castile's vehicle on July 6, 2016, because he believed Castile might have been involved in a convenience store robbery a few days earlier. Officer Yanez was one of the police officers who had responded to that robbery. Furher investigation after the stop showed no connection to Castile and the robbery.
Castile's long previous criminal history does not show a tendency toward violence, although he had been stopped 52 times in the past few years for traffic-related issues.
It was later determined that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the stop, which impaired his ability to listen to Officer Yanez when he was instructed not to reach for his gun. Officer Yanez shot Castile after he ignored orders and reached towards his gun.
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds is known for live-streaming the aftermath of her boyfriend's 2016 fatal shooting by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. Reynolds' live-streamed Facebook video of the traffic stop did not capture anything that led up to the shooting of Philando Castile, or the shooting itself, only the aftermath.
The video has been viewed millions of times and led to rioting. The shooting occurred in close proximity to the shooting of Alton Sterling, and the two shootings contributed to a boiling-over point, inspiring the terrorist attacks which involved assassinating police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
Diamond Reynolds lied after Castile was shot and said that he didn't have any criminal history. After the shooting Reynolds also lied by claiming that she was Castile's fiance, when she wasn't. She claimed that she was held overnight by the police, when she was only interviewed for two hours before an officer bought her groceries and took her home. And Reynolds claimed that police didn't provide first aid to Castile, when they did.
It is reasonable to believe that Diamond Reynolds also lied in her account about what happened during the traffic stop.
Diamond Reynolds was later arrested in an unrelated case for being involved in an attack, using a hammer to attack other women.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged November 16 with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
Prosecutors claimed that Officer Yanez, who is Mexican-American, racially profiled Philando Castile, who was black, when he stopped him.
The trial centered around whether Officer Jeronimo Yanez believed that Philando Castile was posing a threat to his life, and whether that belief was reasonable under the circumstances.
“I thought I was going to die,” Officer Jeronimo Yanez testified in his defense, “I had no other choice. I was forced to engage Mr. Castile. He was not complying with my directions.”
When asked if her wanted to shoot Philando Castile, Officer Yanez said, “I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all. Those were not my intentions.”
Officer Yanez told the court that when he saw Castile grab a gun near his right thigh after he had been ordered not to reach for it, visions of his wife and baby girl flashed through his mind, according to Star Tribune.
Extra law enforcement is present and ready for any civil unrest relating to the verdict.