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A Minnesota police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man during a traffic stop last year was found not guilty on Friday, according to media reports.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb outside of Minneapolis, in July of last year. Yanez pulled Castile over because he believed he matched the description of a suspect in a recent robbery, according to reports.
Yanez then shot into Castile’s car when he believed he was reaching for a gun, an action that was disputed by Castile’s girlfriend, who was riding in the car and filmed the aftermath with her phone, according to the Washington Post.
Minnesota Public Radio reported that Yanez told the court that Castile was not complying with his commands.
Castile’s death set off protests in the area, mirroring the reactions to numerous other police-involved shootings of people of color.
Yanez was charged in November with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts for intentionally discharging a gun. He pleaded not-guilty to the charges.
The jury deliberated for five days before reaching a verdict, according to NPR.
Castile’s girlfriend’s video and dash cam footage from Yanez’s police cruiser were crucial pieces of evidence in the trial, NPR reported, and jurors requested to review both videos before coming to a verdict.
Yanez was the first police officer in Minnesota to be charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing a citizen while on duty, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).