ST. PAUL, Minn. | Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is offering condolences to the family of a black motorist who was killed by a police officer last year after the officer was acquitted today of manslaughter.
A jury deliberated five days before acquitting Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile. Yanez shot Castile five times seconds after Castile informed him during a traffic stop that he was carrying a handgun.
Dayton called Castile’s death “a terrible tragedy.” His statement made no mention of Yanez, but noted that “thousands” of police officers are “working to correct the injustices in our state.”
FILE - In this July 25, 2016, file photo, a memorial including a photo of Philando Castile adorns the gate to the governor's residence in St. Paul, Minn., protesting the July 6, 2016 shooting death of Castile by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Closing arguments began Monday, June 12, 2017 in in a Yanez' manslaughter trial in the fatal shooting of Castile.(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
FILE - In this May 30, 2017, file photo, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez stands outside the Ramsey County Courthouse while waiting for a ride in St. Paul, Minn. Closing arguments are set for Monday, June 12, in a Minnesota police officer’s manslaughter trial in the death of a black motorist. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP, File)
Dayton drew criticism last year after suggesting that Castile might not have been shot if he was white.
The city of St. Anthony said it will dismiss a police officer even though he was cleared of all charges. It concluded the public “will be best served” if Officer Yanez no longer works for the city. The statement says the city plans to offer Yanez a “voluntary separation” so he can find another job.
The city says Yanez will not return to active duty.
A member of the jury that acquitted a Minnesota police officer of manslaughter in the shooting of a black motorist called deliberations “very, very hard” and says he thinks the panel delivered the right verdict.
Dennis Ploussard says the jury was split 10-2 early this week in favor of acquittal.
Ploussard says jurors spent a lot of time dissecting the “culpable negligence” requirement for conviction. He says the last two holdouts eventually agreed on acquittal.
Ploussard wouldn’t identify the two holdouts, but says they were not the jury’s only two black members.
Ploussard declined to say whether he thought Yanez acted appropriately. He says the jury sympathizes with the Castile family.
Castile’s mother says the officer got away with “murder.”
Valerie Castile called her son’s death murder. She pointed out her son was wearing a seatbelt and had his girlfriend and her daughter in the car. She says she’s “very disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota.”