The Minnesota officer who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in July was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm on Wednesday, CNN reports.
Castile’s death spread across social media when Castile’s fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, live-streamed the incident on Facebook.
Castile was pulled over for resembling a suspect in a gas station robbery that had taken place earlier in the day. When Castile told the officer that he was carrying a firearm, and had the permit to do so, the officer told Castile not to pull out the gun. Despite Castile saying that he was not going to pull out his gun, the officer shot Castile seven times. Castile was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi explained that after 19 weeks of considering the circumstances of the shooting, as well as evidence gathered by investigators and the need for community transparency, Choi knew that he had to make the charging decision, USA Today reports.
“I have given officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force, but I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for,” Choi said.
Choi further said, “Philando Castile did not exhibit any intent, nor did he have any reason to shoot officer Yanez. In fact, his dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun. There simply was no objective threat posed to officer Yanez, (his partner) or anyone in that car.”
The city of Falcon Height said in a statement: “We have heard concerns since the shooting of Mr. Castile from residents and non-residents about issues involving current law enforcement procedures in our community, and we will continue to work diligently to review and address those concerns.”