*Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year, told investigators that the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car made him believe his life was in danger.
So basically, Castile was murdered over an officer’s fear of second-hand smoke.
“I thought, I was gonna die,” Officer Jeronimo Yanez told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension fifteen hours after the shooting. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girl was screaming.”
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As The Washington Post reports, this isn’t the first time an officer has cited a fear of pot to justify a confrontation that turned deadly. You recall last year when North Carolina police officers confronted Keith Lamont Scott in his car after observing him smoking marijuana in it.
Like Castile, Scott was a black male. And like Castile, police were aware that Scott had a firearm. Therefore, we all know how that turned out.
“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” the police department said in an incident summary.
Yanez’s attorneys attempted to convince a judge that the manslaughter case should be thrown out because Castile was “stoned” and therefore responsible for his own death.
“The status of being stoned (in an acute and chronic sense) explains why Mr. Castille: 1) did not follow the repeated directions of Officer Yanez; 2) stared straight ahead and avoided eye contact; 3) never mentioned that he had a carry permit, but instead said he had a gun; and (4) he did not show his hands,” the lawyers wrote in a motion to dismiss the charges against Yanez.
That motion failed.
Yanez was ultimately acquitted.
Watch Yasnez’s heart-stopping killing of Philando Castile: