Officer who killed motorist to testify Friday

Officer who killed motorist to testify Friday

Officer who killed motorist to testify Friday

Yanez is charged in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July in a St. Paul suburb.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez who fatally shot Philando Castile in his auto while his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter were sitting in the vehicle, sobbed while telling jurors what happened from his vantage point.

"I thought I was going to die", he told the jury.

The elementary school cafeteria worker, who told the officer that he had a firearm he was licensed to carry, had been reaching for his ID or seatbelt when Yanez opened fire, Reynolds said.

Prosecutors have said that Yanez should have taken steps to keep the situation from rapidly escalating into a shooting, such as asking the driver where his gun was.

"I don't have to stick my hand in the pocket", he said.

On the squad vehicle video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out", as Yanez opened fire.

In dramatic fashion, Kapelsohn held up a replica pair of the shorts Castile wore the night of his death and put a replica gun in the front pocket.

The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend and the video went viral, sparking protests nationwide and renewing criticism of the use of deadly force by police, especially against African-American men.

Seventy-four seconds is the amount of time that elapsed between the moment Yanez turned on his squad auto lights to the moment he fired the seventh and final shot into Castile's vehicle. Others were asked to weigh in on Yanez's decision not to radio his traffic stop into dispatch if he suspected an armed robber might be in the vehicle.

"So are you saying that when Officer Yanez said, 'I don't know where the gun was, ' he really did know where the gun was?"

A key issue in the trial is what Yanez saw before he fired seven shots into Castile's vehicle. Yanez said it was implied.

The location and visibility of Castile's gun is playing a prominent role in the testimony of expert witnesses.

Testimony ended Friday; closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.

He testified Thursday that Yanez followed protocol when he radioed his police partner in another squad vehicle to tell him about a driver who resembled a suspect in a recent armed robbery.

Prosecutors called Yanez's actions unreasonable.

Yanez's fate rests in the hands of a jury who will deliberate at the close of the trial.

Defense attorney Thomas Kelly asked what Yanez meant by "it".

Just where Castile had that gun, and whether or not it could be seen, could determine whether Yanez heads to prison or is set free.

Part of Yanez's defense was highlighting that THC - the active chemical in marijuana - had been found in Castile's system after his death; therefore, Castile was high during the traffic stop and culpable for his fate.

Prosecutors have portrayed Castile as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". Yanez is charged with manslaughter.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen, on cross-examination, asserted that "the ultimate question" in the case was whether Yanez saw a gun.

Kapelsohn said it was possible Castile didn't have his hand in or near his pocket at that point.

Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing.

When asked by a lawyer if use of force was necessary, Yanez replied "Yes". The one who testified for the state said Yanez was negligent throughout the traffic stop.

The incident was one of several similar shootings last summer: On July 5, Alton Sterling was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by police responding to a report of a man with a gun.

Yanez is expected to take the stand in his own defense Friday afternoon.

Whether Yanez saw the gun is a key issue.

Former police officer and police use-of-force expert Joseph Dutton shared his beliefs on the shooting with the jury hearing the manslaughter trial in Ramsey County District Court.

He said Castile's left hand was on the steering wheel and his right hand was below it.

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