Tag: Diamond Reynolds

Philando Castile Family Reaches $3M Settlement with City of St. Anthony, MN

Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile (photo via eurweb.com)

by Amy Forliti via thegrio.com

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mother of Philando Castile, the black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve. The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.

The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony. The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks. Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement will also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.” Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.

Bennett said Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, is not part of the settlement. Reynolds has also hired an attorney, but it’s not clear if she is still planning a lawsuit or has any standing for a federal claim. Reynolds’ attorney did not return messages Monday.

The settlement happened faster than others stemming from the killings of black men by police officers elsewhere. Last week, a $1.5 million settlement was reached in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That settlement came nearly three years after the death of Brown, whose parents sued the city.

Bennett said his decades-long relationship with Joe Flynn, the attorney who represented St. Anthony in Castile’s case, helped bring a quick resolution. He also said the city of St. Anthony has a commitment to make positive changes to their police department. The city is undergoing a voluntary review by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, with the goal of improving trust between the police department and the communities it serves.

To read full article, go to: Philando Castile family reaches $3M settlement in death | theGrio

Officer Who Shot and Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

Philando Castile (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by via madamenoire.com

Prosecutor John J. Choi of Ramsey County, Minnesota announced today that Officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three criminal charges for shooting and killing Philando Castile in July. Castile’s death, if you will recall, came just a day after the police-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Choi said that Yanez’s use of deadly force was not justified as he “never removed or tried to remove” the gun he had in his pocket during the traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. The latter charges were applied since both Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child were present in the car and put in danger during the shooting.

Officer Yanez killed 32-year-old Philando Castile on July 6 during a stop in Falcon Heights. The St. Anthony police officer shot Castile after spotting his gun, and the New York Times reported that Yanez’s lawyer claims that Castile didn’t follow commands. However, in Facebook live video recorded by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, she said that Castile was license to carry his weapon and was trying to make Yanez aware of his gun when he was shot.

The livestream video showed Castile bleeding with the officer standing nearby, and it was viewed millions of times. Those who knew Castile had nothing but great things to say about the school cafeteria manager following his death, and those who didn’t know him, for the most part, were demanding action.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Yanez is the first officer since 2000 to be charged in a police-involved death in Minnesota, this despite there being more than 150 deaths involving police in the state since that time.

To read more, go to: Officer Who Shot And Killed Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter