Minnesota officer charged in Castile shooting goes on trial

Philando Castile was killed by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop.

Jury selection has wrapped up for the day in St. Paul in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a black motorist.

This case is different in significant ways. "This is different in both of those very important ways". Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

A shocking video shot by passenger Diamond Reynolds was instantly posted to Facebook and quickly, the shooting of Castile sparked angry protests at the governor's residence and marches on Interstate 94. Reynolds used her cellphone camera to live-stream the moments after the shooting.

Defense Attorney Marsh Halberg believes Yanez is starting off with a slight advantage, public opinion of the hard job those in law enforcement do every day.

Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Ohio's Bowling Green State University who tracks fatal police shootings, said convictions of officers are infrequent.

Prosecutors said they aren't commenting on the case leading up to trial.

Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, 29, with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm in November.

The graphic video showing Philando Castile's final moments after he was shot by a Minnesota police officer made headlines almost a year ago and led to calls for changes in policing. Soucheray claimed self-defense.

"Jurors are very reluctant to second-guess the split-second life-or-death decisions of an on-duty police officer involved in a violent street encounter with a citizen", Stinson said.

Another challenge is the presence of Castile's.40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, which he voluntarily disclosed to Yanez after the officer asked for his proof of insurance and driver's license.

Defense attorney Earl Gray objected to a transcript provided by the prosecution that shows Reynolds making three references to Castile's permit to carry a weapon.

Castile moans and says, "I wasn't reaching for it", according to the complaint. Reynolds replies that Castile was reaching for his ID, as Yanez requested.

Still, there is a 90-second hole from when the vehicle was stopped and that Facebook Live video rolled that attorneys will attempt to fill throughout the course of this trial.

"It's harder for the jury to find [Yanez] guilty if they know that the police officer knew that [Castile] had a gun", Daly said, "because guns are unsafe. I would rather be defending him than prosecuting him based on what I know and what I've read".

Authorities said Castile told Yanez he had a weapon on him, but did not make clear that he was legally permitted to carry one. Officers and medics rendering aid to Castile later removed the gun from his right front shorts pocket. The defense is arguing it's important information because Yanez claims the scent of marijuana was detected in the auto that night.

Yanez is expected to testify in his defense. "So it's kind of the reverse arguments that we're going to get here". Jury selection begins Tuesday.

One person was dismissed when it was revealed that he or she is actually a relative of Yanez. "I wouldn't want to be a juror".

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