Attorneys for a Minnesota police officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in July are asking that the charges against him be dismissed. They claim Castile was negligent in his own death because he was high on marijuana while driving and did not obey the officer’s commands, the Associated Press reported.
St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, was charged with the manslaughter death of Castile last month. Prosecutors stressed that Yanez acted unreasonably and was not justified in using deadly force.
As HelloBeautiful previously reported, Castile was shot and killed on July 6 in a Twin Cities suburb after he was pulled over for matching the description of a robbery suspect with a “wide set nose. Castile told Yanez that he had a license to carry a gun before Yanez shot the 32-year-old seven times. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds recorded the shooting on Facebook live as their 4-year-old daughter watched in the backseat.
Yanez’s lawyers claim that Castile never divulged that he had a permit to carry and that Castile was to blame for his own death.
“He should not even have been driving while under the influence. He should have showed his hands. He should not have reached for the handgun,” defense attorney Earl Gray wrote in a court document.
Gray also wrote that autopsy results showed that Castile had high levels of THC in his blood, and a defense expert determined he was intoxicated, the AP wrote. They believe Castile’s altered state of mind played a role in how he interacted with Yanez.
“How could it be that Officer Yanez knew or could have known that when Mr. Castile reached for his gun he would not shoot a police officer dead,” he wrote.
In related news, on Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that they will provide a review of the St. Anthony Police Department in leu of the Castile case. According to ABC News, Community Oriented Policing Services Offices director Ronald Davis told the press that the DOJ will release a public report detailing its findings about the department, along with a set of recommendations for improvement.
“It takes a lot of courage to ask for this,” Davis said. “I applaud the cities of Saint Anthony Village, Lauderdale, and Falcon Heights and the Saint Anthony Police Department for taking steps to improve department operations to achieve 21st century policing.”
He concluded: “The findings and recommendations from this assessment will enable the department and the community to work together to hold the department accountable to the best standards of the law enforcement profession.”