MINNEAPOLIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Minnesota police officer who pulled over Philando Castile politely told the driver that his brake lights were out and calmly instructed him not to pull out his handgun before suddenly drawing his own weapon and firing seven rounds into the car, a video released Tuesday showed.
The dashboard video taken from St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s squad car illustrated how a simple traffic stop of a black man shifted in an instant from a routine exchange to a deadly confrontation.
When Yanez opened fire, another officer near the car jumped back, and Yanez began yelling at the driver. As more police and an ambulance arrived, Yanez could be heard breathing heavily and swearing and trying to explain his actions to fellow officers.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the dashcam video was shown to jurors, who last week acquitted Yanez of any criminality. Although the squad-car footage was described repeatedly and was shown to jurors in the courtroom, it had never been made public until Tuesday.
The shooting on July 6, 2016, in the Twin Cities suburb of Falcon Heights gained widespread attention because Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. Unlike Reynolds’ video, the squad-car video shows the situation’s quick escalation and the shooting itself.
Yanez, who was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges, began firing only seconds after Castile told the officer he had a gun.
“Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me,” Castile said.
Before Castile finished that sentence, Yanez began pulling his weapon out of the holster. Yanez said, “OK. Don’t reach for it then.” He told the driver twice more not to pull out the weapon and then started firing into the car. After the firing ends, he screamed, “Don’t pull it out!”
Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, had a permit to carry the weapon.
Last week — after 25 hours of deliberations — a jury that included two African Americans acquitted Officer Yanez of any criminal wrongdoing. Jurors said the prosecution didn’t meet the burden of proof for a manslaughter conviction.
Juror Dennis Ploussard said the panel discussed the racial dynamics at play.
“Does anyone believe this was racially connected? And we all agreed it wasn’t,” he said following the jury’s decision.
Marchers protested throughout the weekend, convinced the justice system failed another black man killed by police. In total, eighteen people were arrested.
The release of the video made some people even angrier about the death.
Steven Belton, the black president and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League, said the footage was “powerfully painful” and that Castile was “gunned down like a rabid animal.”
Bekuh Sibet, a 29-year-old waitress from nearby Richfield, said it was obvious to her from the video that Castile was complying.
“I feel like it’s 10 times worse now,” said Sibet, who is white.
Marcell Lenoir, a 24-year-old insurance worker from suburban Brooklyn Center, referred back to testimony that the officer thought Castile resembled a suspected armed robber.
“He already thought in his mind that this was a suspect in a robbery, and he just panicked and he messed up,” said Lenoir, who is mixed race, African-American and white.
The footage shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s vehicle. It captures what was said between the two men. The video does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw.
Yanez testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out the gun.
The video shows Yanez following Castile’s car, then pulling it over. Yanez can be seen approaching Castile and asking for a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile gives the proof of insurance to Yanez through the driver’s side window, and the officer puts it in his pocket.
After the first shot, Castile’s body is thrown to the right. The video shows Yanez’s backup officer, Joseph Kauser, standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, retreating when the shots were fired.
When the shooting stops, the video shows Yanez standing at the car window with his gun drawn for some time. Reynolds’ then-4-year-old daughter starts to get out of the car and is grabbed by an officer.
Officers order Reynolds out of the car, and she gets out, hands held high. Soon, she is heard wailing.
A fellow officer speaks repeatedly to Yanez to get him away from the car: “I’m going to take your spot. I’m going to take your spot. Listen, listen, I’m going to take your spot.” Yanez slowly walks away, and another officer says: “You all right? You all right? You’re not hit any, are you?”
Officers pull Castile from the vehicle and begin CPR. Yanez is then off-camera, but can be heard talking through his body microphone.
Yanez, 29, is heard telling a supervisor that he didn’t know where Castile’s gun was, then saying that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, “What I meant by that was I didn’t know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area.”
Yanez cried on the witness stand, and said he felt he had no choice but to fire when he saw Castile reach for his gun. He was fired from his job the day of his acquittal.
Meanwhile, the Castile family says they are planning a lawsuit.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)