St. Paul, Minn – Today the Ramsey County Attorney announced that the officer who killed Philando Castile will be charged with manslaughter in the second degree and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota released the following statement:
Please attribute to Charles Samuelson, Executive Director:
“The charges against Officer Jeronimo Yanez are a step in the right direction. It is a relief that the officer responsible for taking Philando Castile’s life will be prosecuted for this crime.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi made it clear that Philando Castile was a victim of unjustified force and did not deserve to die. He had done nothing wrong, nothing to merit being shot to death.
Though welcome and important, these charges cannot bring back Philando Castile nor can they alone mend the fractured relationship between police and communities the police too often fail to protect. We commend the action of County Attorney Choi, while insisting that we continue the discussion of racial inequality, over-policing communities of color, and police brutality an urgent, productive, and meaningful manner.
Despite the charges against Officer Yanez, we remain deeply concerned about the safety of our communities of color, here in Minnesota and across the nation. The officers who neglected to render immediate aid when Castile was bleeding to death and the officer who referred to Castile’s ‘wide set nose’ as evidence of guilt reek of racial bias. As is evident in Philando Castile’s case, people of color are all too often seen by police as a threat simply because of the color of their skin.
Ramsey County has shown its commitment to bring justice for Castile’s death. That commitment must now be matched by fundamental changes in the ways police interact with people of color. Our officers must begin to acknowledge that Black lives matter, and that people like Philando Castile are human beings, not targets.”