The police officer who killed Philando Castile, an African-American driver whose death was streamed live on Facebook, was charged on Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez, fatally shot Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker, during a random traffic stop in the Minnesota suburb of Falcon Heights in July this year.
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who live-streamed the incident, and their four-year-old daughter were both in the car at the time of the shooting. Castile later died in hospital as a result of his injuries.
Choi says Yamez responded, “Don’t reach for it, then.”
“Castile tried to respond, but was interrupted by Officer Yanez, who said, ‘Don’t pull it out. Castile responded, ‘I’m not pulling it out.’”
He then claims that Yanez then “screamed, ‘Don’t pull it out’” and fired seven rounds from his gun.
“No reasonable officer – knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time – would have used deadly force under these circumstances.”
However, Yamez – who is also charged with two felony counts of intentional discharge of a dangerous weapon – claimed via his lawyer in July that his actions “had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of [Castile’s] gun.”