By Ken Patterson
The close people of Philando Castile condemn racist American justice system.
The Friday acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez was a slap in the face of all Black America. But the family and friends of Philando Castile were hurt most of all.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the car with him at the time of the incident and live-streamed the shooting incident posted a statement in which she expressed her sorrow and anger.
Philando Castile’s mother, Valerie, didn’t hesitate to speak out immediately after the verdict was announced.
On Friday night the protest erupted in Minnesota. According to PBS, approximately 2,000 people marched peacefully to the Minnesota State Capitol. A large canvas of Castile wearing a crown that read “Long Live the King” was surrounded by signs that read “Justice is dead” and “On Trial: The System. Verdict: Guilty!” Chants of “No justice, no peace” filled the air.
Huffington Post reports that at least 82 officers across the country have faced murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings since the beginning of 2005, according to research from Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminology at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. Just 29 of those cases have ended in conviction, although a number are still pending. No officer has been convicted so far this year.
Juries have shown time and time again that they’re “not willing to second-guess officers who get on the stand and testify at their own trial in their own defense that he or she thought that they were gonna get killed and that’s why they used deadly force,” Stinson said.
Stinson said police kill around 1,000 civilians each year, and that verdicts like the one in Yanez’s case suggest the legal system may be willing to accept that these casualties are “just the cost of doing business.”
“Even when the prosecution has gone to great lengths to put on expert testimony and other police officers to show that a reasonable officer on the objective standard would not have perceived that threat,” he added, “when the officer gets on the stand and subjectively says, ‘I thought my life was in danger,’ it’s almost as if the jury at that point can’t process what the prosecution has spent so much time and effort into getting across at the trial.”
St. Antony PD announced that “the City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer.”
One is gone but the system remains and it will continue to fail Black people by not sending their killers to prison.