By Frederick H. Lowe
The city of St. Anthony, Minn., has agreed to pay nearly $3 million to the mother of Philando Castile, a registered gun owner who was shot to death by a police officer during a routine traffic stop although he was complying with the cop’s orders.
Under the terms of the settlement, Valerie Castile, as trustee, will receive a payment in the amount of $2.995 million, St. Anthony announced in a news release Monday morning.
Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer with the St. Anthony, Minn., police department, shot to death Castile, a cafeteria worker employed by St. Paul, Minn., Public School District, on July 6, 2016.
After the stop, Castile told Yanez that he was a registered gun owner and that he was carrying a pistol. Yanez said, “Ok. Don’t pull it out,” according to police dash-cam video.
Castile had handed Yanez his car’s registration and was reaching in his back pocket for his driver’s license as ordered to by Yanez. “Don’t pull it out [the gun],” Yanez screamed angrily before he began firing his gun into Castile’s car. He fired a total of seven shots, killing Castile. His gun was found in his front pocket and no bullets were in its chamber. Before the shooting began, Castile said he was not reaching for his gun.
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, livestreamed the shooting’s aftermath over Facebook. The couple’s four-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat. Neither was harmed.
The livestream, coupled with dash-cam video, provide a complete view of the deadly shooting.
The District Attorney’s Office charged Yanez was with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. A mostly white jury acquitted Yanez of all charges on June 16, 2017. That same day, he was fired from the police force by the City of St. Anthony.
“No amount of money could replace Philando. With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Fund,” city officials said. “The death of Philando Castile is a tragedy for his family and for our community.”
The settlement agreement was reached with Valerie Castile, her lawyers, Robert Bennett and Glenda Hatchett, and the City of St. Anthony. The agreement avoids a federal civil rights lawsuit that would have taken years to resolve, city officials said. The settlement will be paid through the city’s coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. No taxpayers monies from the city of St. Anthony will be used to fund the settlement.