Defense wants talk of Castile's permit omitted

Lauren Perry
June 1, 2017

The trial opens this week with jury selection.

In the summer of 2016, police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile, a black man pulled over while driving with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter.

While the jury panel received orientation, Leary discussed motions filed by Yanez's counsel, including whether to exclude statements made by Reynolds during the shooting or allow Yanez's attorneys to investigate who sold Reynolds marijuana hours before the incident.

Defense attorney Earl Gray argued that all mentions of Castile's permit to carry made by Reynolds in video footage of the incident be removed.

When Judge William H. Leary III asked if a suitable remedy might be leaving Castile's permit to carry out of the trial altogether, Paulsen asked to have until tomorrow to think it over. He'll rule after prosecutors share their position on the issue Wednesday morning.

Jury selection has wrapped up for the day in St. Paul in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a black motorist.

Thompson said he didn't see much diversity in the pool of potential jurors called Tuesday, but he will look past that.

Jurors were excused before noon Tuesday so that they could fill out a written questionnaire provided by the court about their backgrounds and familiarity with Yanez's case.

The pool is mostly white with a handful of people of color including at least five blacks.

Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Ohio's Bowling Green State University who tracks fatal police shootings, said convictions of officers are infrequent.

In Minnesota, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced the charges against Yanez in November, saying that "no reasonable officer knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances".

As the video rocketed around social media, weeks of protests shut down freeways in the Twin Cities and spurred an encampment outside the governor's residence.

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While prosecutors call the shooting unjustifiable, the officer's attorneys call it self-defense.

Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of a police officer accused of fatally shooting a black motorist, a death that generated national attention when the aftermath was streamed live on Facebook.

Jury selection is expected to last for the better part of this week.

When Ramsey County Prosecutor John Choi announced the three charges of manslaughter and risky discharge of a weapon last November, he said Yanez acted unreasonably after watching the officer's squad vehicle video.

The graphic video showing Castile's final moments after Jeronimo Yanez shot him made headlines almost a year ago, and led to calls for changes in policing. Castile, who was carrying his firearm for which he had a legal permit, informed the officer of his weapon while handing over his license and proof of insurance.

Yanez's defense team also filed a motion with the judge to question Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was with him when he was shot, about where she and Castile purchased the marijuana they allegedly smoked the day Castile died.

The 29-year old Yanez is the first Minnesota police officer in recent memory to face such a charge.

MATT SEPIC, BYLINE: Here on Larpenteur Avenue, a four-lane road that goes through the Twin City suburb of Falcon Heights, police officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over a 1997 Oldsmobile on the evening of July 6. Thompson said they decided not to attend the jury selection but plan to be there when testimony starts.

Reynolds live-streamed the shooting's aftermath on Facebook via her cellphone.

Prosecutors say Yanez, who is Latino, shot the 32-year-old Castile after Castile told him he was armed.

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