A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday that the criminal case against the police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile will proceed.
CBS News reports that Ramsey County District Court Judge William Leary III heard oral arguments before filing his decision that there is enough probable cause to move forward with a trial.
“Leary also wrote that, given the evidence disclosed by prosecutors, it is fair and reasonable for the case to proceed. He said both sides interpret the evidence differently, and if a jury accepts the state’s interpretation, there is a chance it could prevail,” writes CBS.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile seven times during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6, 2016. Attorneys for Yanez state he will plead not guilty to manslaughter and other counts in the shooting. They say their client had no choice but to shoot Castile after claiming he saw a gun. However, officials later learned that the 32-year-old Black man had a permit to carry a weapon and prosecutors raised questions as to whether Yanez actually saw a firearm.
Judge Leary, who was assigned to the case after defense attorneys requested a new one, replaced Judge Edward Wilson. They did so citing a state criminal procedure that allows either party to ask for the removal of one assigned judge per case, without having to give a reason.
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Wilson, who is Black, was removed from the case despite being described as “the second-most-highest judge.”
“We did our research, and based on our research, we chose to remove him… we felt we had to remove him. Simple as that,” one of the attorneys told reporters.
Officer Yanez’s plea hearing will be held on Feb. 27.