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Black Lives Matter: Where is Jeronimo Yanez now? Cop who shot Philando Castile in 2016 was acquitted 5 months later

Yanez received a whopping $48,500 plus compensatory payout during his termination form the police force under public demand
UPDATED MAR 19, 2021
Jeronimo Yanez (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension)
Jeronimo Yanez (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension)

As Minnesota citizens brace themselves for the trial of George Floyd's killer police officer Derek Chauvin, they are inevitably reminded of the fateful May of 2017, when another police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, accused of killing a Black civilian, was pronounced 'not guilty'. On July 16, 2016, Jeronimo Yanez from the St. Anthony Police Department, shot dead 32-year-old Philando Castile in front of his partner and her four-year-old daughter.

He fired not one, not two, but seven close-range shots at Castile, who succumbed to his wounds at the Hennepin County Medical Center, around twenty minutes after being shot.

The incident marked one of the worst instances of police brutality against Black civilians in USA and sparked massive outrage, especially after Castile's girlfriend live-streamed and shared a video of the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Although Yanez was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm, he was acquitted of all charges, five months after the shooting. The wrongful death lawsuit brought against the City by Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds was settled at $3.8 million, along with an $800,000 payout to Reynolds. 


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How did Yanez shoot Castile?

28-year-old Hispanic officer Jeronimo Yazen was from South St. Paul and employed with St. Anthony Police Department at the time of the shocking incident. On July 6, 2016, Yanez pulled over Castile's car in Falcon Heights. Minnesota, asking him his whereabouts and other details, along with his colleague Kauser. 

Castile was returning from a haircut and dinner, after which he had just picked up his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. Meanwhile, a police officer patrolling the Larpenteur Avenue relayed to Yanez and Kauser about Castile and Reynolds approaching, whom he infamously described as, "The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose."

A candlelight vigil for Philando Castile (Getty Images)

Soon afterward, Yanez and Kauser stopped Castile, at around 9 pm at Falcon Heights in Sait Paul, Minnesota. When inquired about his license and registration, Castile reportedly revealed to the officer about his licensed firearm. 

"Don't reach for it then," Yanez could be heard telling Castile. As Castile fumbled but confirmed that he was not reaching for his weapon, Yanez continued to warn him - "Don't pull it out." Even with Reynolds reiterating to Yanez that Castile was not drawing his weapon, Yanez shot Castile seven times from close range, of which five bullets hit him. He was rushed to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he died. 

Why was Yanez acquitted? 

Despite nationwide protest movements demanding justice for Philando Castile and the conviction of killer cop Yanez, the trial of Jeronimo Yanez yielded the most disappointing result for Black families in Minnesota and beyond. 

Yanez's trial started on May 30, 2017, under Judge William H. Leary. Following five days and over 25 hours of deliberation, the verdict was passed in favor of Yanez's acquittal. The 12-member-jury, comprising two Black jurors felt that the brutal incident did not meet the criteria for a conviction. "We felt [Yanez] was an honest guy ... and in the end, we had to go on his word, and that's what it came down to," one of the jurors commented on the condition of anonymity. 

The verdict did not sit well with thousands of Black civilians who gave out an ultimatum - "The public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city."

Eventually, Yanez was removed from the Police Department but received a whopping $48,500 plus payout for unused compensatory time, at the time of his farewell. 


Where is Jeronimo Yanez now?

Though his present whereabouts are in the dark, Yanez's name resurfaced in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minnesota, as people were reminded of the horrors of Philando Castile's tragic death. It still continues to baffle many that Jeronimo Yanez brutally shot a Black person while himself hailing from a minority community. 

"The murder of Philando Castile absolutely sickens me. The police officer who murdered him should absolutely be in prison. In fact, Jeronimo Yanez has no business in the position of a police officer. I don’t know where he went but I hope he isn’t in law enforcement anymore," a user recently tweeted.  

Responding to the conversation around Yanez's own race, another user added, "Man, it’s many many cops that are trigger happy. Whites and minorities. Police brutality goes beyond a white / black issue."



One user revealed a piece of startling information that connected Yanez and George Floyd's killer Derek Chauvin. "Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis, it was revealed that two years earlier the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, had attended “The Bulletproof Warrior,” 2-day training taught by Grossman. Floyd’s killer trained," they wrote. 


It now remains to be seen what happens to Floyd's killer Derek Chauvin, whose case now bears an uncanny resemblance to the Philando Castile murder - perhaps because the situation is yet to change despite years of protests.