Philando Castile death: Graphic video shows shocking moment Black man was shot by police

The Castile family lawyer says she was 'stunned' by the footage

Emily Shugerman
New York
Thursday 22 June 2017 00:46 BST
Dashboard camera footage released by Minnesota authorities shows the moment Philando Castile was shot
Dashboard camera footage released by Minnesota authorities shows the moment Philando Castile was shot (YouTube/Ramsey County)

One of the most controversial police shootings of the last year started with what seemed like a routine traffic stop, recently released police footage shows.

Footage from Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s dashboard camera shows the officer approaching a white sedan and informing the driver, Philando Castile, that one of his tail lights is out.

“Do you have your license and insurance?” he asks Mr Castille.

Seconds later, he would put seven bullets into the 32-year-old’s body.

Authorities released the footage on Tuesday, just days after a Minnesota jury acquitted Mr Yanez on all charges in the shooting. The video – which jurors watched multiple times during the trial – reveals details of the shooting that left Mr Castille dead and members of the Black community reeling.

"I was stunned," Glenda Hatchett, a former judge who is representing Mr Castile's family, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin of the first time she saw the video.

"I knew, in theory, what to expect, but we all saw it for the first time when the jury saw it,” she added. “...I am still baffled at how 12 people could come to the conclusion to acquit him in this manner.”

Members of the black community expressed their outrage at the jury’s decision – and disgust at the video – on Twitter, while rights groups also spoke out.

Others, however, believe the video hold more questions than it does answers. In the approximately 10-minute clip, Mr Yanez can be seen pulling Mr Castille over, approaching his car, and asking for his licence and registration.

Mr Castile hands over the registration and informs the officer that he is carrying a firearm, which he was licenced to carry.

“OK don’t reach for it, then,” Mr Yanez says.

This is where the accounts differ. Mr Castille’s girlfriend, who was sitting in the passenger seat, says her boyfriend followed the officer’s instructions and reached for his license.

Mr Yanez says he thought Mr Castille was reaching for the gun.

“Don’t pull it out!” the officer can be heard yelling in the video. Mr Castille and his girlfriend insist he is not reaching for a weapon, but again Mr Yanez yells “Don’t pull it out!”

Then he fires the seven shots that fatally wounded Mr Castile.

“I wasn’t reaching,” Mr Castille says softly, as the shots subside.

In his testimony, Mr Yanez said he “didn't want to shoot Mr. Castile," but that he thought he was “going to die." In the video, he can be heard breathing rapidly and shouting expletives after firing the shots.

Mr Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, testified that she, too, feared for her life. She is known for filming the aftermath of the shooting – dramatic footage that raised the national profile of the case in the aftermath.

“I know that the people are not protected against the police,” Ms Reynolds said of her decision to shoot the video. “I wanted to make sure if I died in front of my daughter that people would know the truth.”

On Friday, jurors sided with Mr Yanez’s version of events, acquitting him of one count of second degree manslaughter and two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.

“It is a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Yanez is a policeman,” Ms Reynolds said. “God help America."

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