Another police shooting acquittal worries black gun owners

People in November 2016 gather at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School where Philando Castile worked in St. Paul Minn. after charges were filed against St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of one charge of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of risky discharge of a firearm. They were arrested after they failed to comply with orders to disperse, the agency posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in a statement on the verdict, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman called Castile "a son of St. Paul - a graduate of Central High School, and a dedicated employee at J.J. Hill Montessori, where he was loved by his students and co-workers". They held signs that read "black lives matter" and "no justice, no peace", and chanted "stand up, fight back".

Protesters held a peaceful demonstration on Friday at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and then about 1,500 converged on Interstate 94 in the city, blocking the freeway, a Minnesota State Patrol spokeswoman said in an email statement.

The protests were expected.

The arrests came after a jury acquitted a police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile during a traffic stop past year - a verdict that brought cries of dismay from the dead man's family and supporters in the courtroom.

Demonstrators gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol demanding justice for Castile and stronger accountability measures for police.

It's been a roadside memorial since the day Castile died but it received extra visits Friday.

The dead man's mother, Valerie Castile, speaking to reporters outside the court afterwards, said: "I'm mad as hell right now". Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting's aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known.

"I'm incredibly disappointed with the jury's verdict ..." It took so long when they couldn't decide.

On the squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out", as Yanez opened fire. He said the jury sympathizes with the Castile family.

After five days of deliberations, the jury of seven men and five women, 10 of whom were white and two of whom were black, found Yanez not guilty of all counts, including two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety. "I will never have faith in the system".

Numerous groups castigated the decision.

The verdict "tells African-Americans across the country that they can be killed by police officers with impunity, even when they are following the law", said Cederic Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Another demonstrator said, "This was a case where we thought we would really get some justice, and it turns out we can't".

Her video went viral, sparking protests both locally and nationally about police use of force, particularly against black men. "That is the devastating message this verdict, along with all those similar acquittals before it, sends to communities of color across the nation".

"He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out of his pocket", Reynolds says. These two decisions create an atmosphere where police violence is sanctioned based on what we think a hypothetical officer could have felt, even if, in reality, the officer was acting recklessly, had ill motives or was acting based on implicit bias.

"Taking another person's life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and consequently new standards are needed to better ensure that police killings happen rarely".



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