Philando Castile Photo courtesy of Facebook

A judge will decide the fate of the suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in the shooting death of Philando Castile last year, in a high profile case that was among several that sent waves of protests regarding the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Ramsey County District Judge William Leary will choose whether to drop the charges or proceed when oral arguments are heard Wednesday morning in the case of St. Anthony, Minn., Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who prosecutors say fatally wounded Castile in a July traffic stop. The incident was recorded and posted on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.

In December, Yanez’ attorneys filed a motion Wednesday for charges against their client to be dropped according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press. They alleged that Castile, 32, was high on marijuana. An autopsy conducted on Castile indicated he had high levels of THC, the primary chemical found in weed.

Yanez, 28, was given a second-degree manslaughter charge and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon last November, according to CBS Minnesota. His defense attorneys say Castile reached for his gun during the stop, justifying the shooting but prosecutors argue that Castile’s gun — which he had a license for — was properly concealed and that he never attempted to remove or draw it.



When filing the charge against Yanez on Nov. 16, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said “no reasonable officer knowing, seeing or hearing what officer Yanez did would have used deadly force.”

If Yanez is convicted of the manslaughter charge he faces 10 years in prison.


An earlier version of this story appears on JETMag.com.



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