After peaceful protests erupted in St. Paul in response to officer Jeronimo Yanez’ acquittal for shooting and killing Philando Castile, 18 people were arrested.
Protesters overtook Interstate 94 on Friday (June 16), splitting off from the original meeting point at the state Capitol. The verdict at the center of the outrage was the clearing of the St Anthony police officer of manslaughter after he shot the 32-year-old Castile during a July 6, 2016 traffic stop.
During the stop, the former cafeteria worker informed Yanez that he was carrying a gun just moments before he was shot. The officer, during the trial, said that he feared for his life and that Castile was ignoring his commands not to pull out his gun.
The shooting victim’s mother, Valeria Castile, gave an emotional speech outside of the Ramsey County Courthouse after the verdict came down and capped it off by saying, “I hope [Yanez] dies tonight!”
“I'm mad as hell right now. My son loved this city, and this city killed my son,” Valeria also remarked. “The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all.”
The shooting gained particular outrage, both for the nature of what happened but also the video that surfaced – taken by Castile’s girlfriend – within the car.
Thousands of people gathered Friday evening at the state Capitol to protest the eventual verdict. The crowd carried signs reading “Corrupt systems only corrupt” and “Unite for Philando.”
(Photo: CRAIG LASSIG/EPA/REX/Shutterstock)