Minnesota Officer Pleads Not Guilty in Philando Castile Death

A suburban St. Paul, Minn., police officer on Monday pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges for the controversial shooting death of a black man in July that spurred nationwide protests.

The St. Anthony Police Department officer, Jeronimo Yanez, is now tentatively set to face trial May 30 for second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for the shooting death of Philando Castile.

The aftermath of the controversial shooting was broadcast on Facebook Live by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who along with her daughter were passengers in the vehicle.

Earlier this month, Judge William Leary III refused a request by defense attorneys for Yanez to dismiss the charges. The officer’s defense team had argued Castile, who had high-levels of THC in his system at the time of the incident, was “stoned” and his actions contributed to his death. THC is the mind-altering substance in marijuana.

Castile was pulled over while driving in the nearby suburb of Falcon Heights because he resembled a suspect in a gas station robbery that had taken place earlier in the evening, according to prosecutors. St. Anthony’s Police Department also provides service for Falcon Heights.

Before he was shot, Castile told Yanez that he was carrying a firearm — he had a permit to do so — and told the officer that he was not pulling it out, prosecutors said.

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Source: USA TODAY | Aamer Madhani