ST. PAUL, Minn. (Reuters) - Jurors deciding the fate of a Minnesota police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black motorist during a traffic stop last year took another look on Tuesday at two videos showing the incident and its immediate aftermath.
St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter after he shot and killed Philando Castile, 32, in July in an incident that drew national attention and led to weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The jury began deliberations on Monday.
Ramsey County District Judge William H. Leary III on Tuesday granted the jury’s request to view again videos of the traffic stop, as captured by the dashboard camera in Yanez’s squad car, and the Facebook Live post of the shooting’s bloody aftermath filmed by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat next to him.
Jurors had seen the videos at least twice before during the trial.
The shooting in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, like similar incidents across the United States, fueled public debate about appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.
The police video begins in silence as Yanez followed a white Oldsmobile car driven by Castile on a wide, lightly-traveled road. After Yanez activated his flashing lights, Castile stopped near a squat apartment building and row of trees. Yanez exited his car and told Castile his brake light was broken.
After Castile disclosed that he had a firearm, Yanez can be heard saying, ”OK don’t reach for it then.”
Castile responded, “I was reaching,” but before he finished, Yanez, with right hand on his holster, said, “Don’t pull it out.”
“I‘m not pulling it out,” Castile said, in the audio of the police tape.
Yanez then fired seven shots. Five shots hit Castile; two piercing his heart, prosecutors said. Another officer, perched on the passenger side of the vehicle, can be seen jumping back in the dashboard video.
“Shots fired,” Yanez told police dispatch. Reynolds’ voice can then be heard beginning her Facebook post. “Stay with me,” Reynolds told a bleeding, gasping Castile.
Other officers soon arrived and Yanez is heard cursing and saying he told Castile to stop. Officers then removed Castile from the car and attempted to revive him.
Leary refused a jury request to view a post-shooting video interview with Yanez by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, excerpts of which were read in court.
Reporting by Todd Melby; Editing by Tom Brown