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Cop’s Lawyer: Philando Castile’s Gun, Not Race, Was the Main Factor in Death


Office Jeronimo Yanez via Facebook screengrab

A lawyer for the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile said Castile’s gun, not his race, was the main factor.

Jeronimo Yanez, an officer for the St. Anthony Police Department “was reacting to the actions of the driver,” Thomas Kelly told The Associated Press. “This had nothing to do with race. This had everything to do with the presence of a gun.”

Castile, who is black, was killed during a traffic stop on Wednesday. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was sitting in the passenger seat, recorded the aftermath, and posted the disturbing footage to the Internet.

“He let the officer know he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm,” she said in the video. Reynolds claimed the officer had pulled them over ostensibly for a busted taillight.

Yanez had this to say later in the footage: “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!” He and another officer, Joseph Kauser (who stood by the passenger side), are on administrative leave. An investigation into this incident is ongoing.

This is yet another high-profile killing of a black man by cops. The incident set off ongoing protests in St. Paul, outside the governor’s mansion. Apparently, Castile’s death also motivated Texas-man Micah Xavier Johnson to kill 5 police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas on Thursday.

[h/t The Associated Press]

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