ST. LOUIS - A Minnesota police officer has been charged in the death of a St. Louis native.
Philando Castile, 32, was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department on July 6 during a traffic stop for a busted tail light.
Seven shots rang out as prosecutors said Castile went to reach for his ID after telling Yanez he was armed and had a gun permit.
Castile’s gun was found in his pocket after his death.
“It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi on Wednesday.
Yanez is now facing multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Choi added, “The mere mention of a firearm alone cannot justify the use of a deadly force.”
Here in Castile’s hometown of St. Louis, news of the criminal charges was met with mixed emotion by Castile’s relatives.
The elementary school cafeteria worker attended Cupples Elementary School in the city for at least the fourth grade before relocating to Minnesota, where other relatives, including his mother, currently live.
But many other family members continue to call this region home.
“It’s a step in the right direction. But one would hope for an actual homicide charge, a charge of murder,” said his uncle Greg Taylor.
Taylor and his brother, Stacy Castile, said their nephew did everything right during the traffic stop, and still lost his life.
“He didn’t deserve to die. Nobody deserves to die at the hands of an officer. Period,” Castile said.
But the men do believe Castile’s passing was intended to serve what they consider a greater purpose.
Castile said, “Stop killing black people and thinking you’re going to get away with it.”
Castile was buried in the St. Louis area.
Taylor said his life will likely be remembered during the family’s annual July 4th reunion and celebration.
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