News Worms
News Worms

Police arrest 18 protesters over motorist shooting verdict

Police arrest 18 protesters over motorist shooting verdict

Protesters and family members of Philando Castile gather outside the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., Friday June 16, 2017. They were arrested after they failed to comply with orders to disperse, the agency posted on Twitter.

Thousands of protesters hit the streets of St. Paul, Minn. The protest was peaceful as darkness fell, though it disrupted light-rail trains. The crowd carried signs reading "Corrupt systems only corrupt" and "Unite for Philando".

Protesters overtook Interstate 94 on Friday (June 16), splitting off from the original meeting point at the state Capitol.

The protests were expected.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot several times by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, last July after Castile was pulled over with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and Reynolds' 4-year-old daughter in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of Saint Paul.

In a statement, a Minnesota State Patrol spokeswoman said the protesters were charged with unlawful assembly, among other things, after they declined repeated demands from police to vacate the roadway.

One woman made her feelings known in a smaller, quieter way.

In reaction to the verdict, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton offered his condolences to the Castile family, calling his death "a awful tragedy" in a statement that made no mention of Yanez.

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

"I'm mad as hell right now", Valerie Castile told reporters after the verdict. "Yanez still guilty", "Hand in Hand, we will fill the streets" and "When will black lives matter?"

Questioned by his defense attorney during the trial, Yanez said: "I was scared to death". "I don't think that this was a fair jury". It took so long when they couldn't decide.

Yanez testified that he stopped Castile because he resembled a suspect in a local convenience store robbery days earlier. The jury heard two weeks of testimony and spent about 27 hours deliberating.

"The system continues to fail black people", said Valerie Castile, Philando's mother.

Numerous groups castigated the decision.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement calling Castile's death a "terrible tragedy", while emphasizing the ongoing efforts to improve police-community relations.

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

The video footage of the aftermath of the shooting taken by Castile's girlfriend, which went viral, had shaped many public perceptions of the fatal shooting before the trial. "That is the devastating message this verdict, along with all those similar acquittals before it, sends to communities of color across the nation". "God help America", Reynolds said in a statement Friday.

The finding was in line with recent history showing trials of police officers often end in non-convictions - almost 40 percent of the time for those that Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Ohio's Bowling Green State University, has tracked since 2005.

"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".

His death sparked outrage against police and allegations that it was racially motivated.


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