Thousands of people took to the streets Friday to protest the not guilty verdict in the Philando Castile killing trial.
An estimated 2000 people gathered around I-94, one of St. Paul, Minn.’s main highways, to peacefully demonstrate another instance where police misconduct is overlooked in the killing of innocent black men. Officer Jeronimo Yanez killed Castile in his car last year while his fiance, Diamond Reynolds, and 4-year-old daughter were sitting in the vehicle. Reynolds then live streamed the aftermath.
“This city killed my son and the murderer got away,” an angry Valerie Castile, the victim’s mother, told a crowd. “Are you kidding me right now?”
“Damn! What is it gonna take?” she asked. “I’m mad as hell! Yes I am!”
Yanez was acquitted on all counts, including second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
Sherrilyn Ifill, the director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the jury’s decision shows how difficult it is to get justice when a police officer is involved in a fatal shooting.
“This incident seemed so egregious and avoidable that we hoped that this time, it might be different — that this time, justice might be served,” she said.
She added: “Because if the government can take your life and no one is held responsible, you are a second-class citizen, if not fully dehumanized in the eyes of the law. That is the devastating message this verdict, along with all those similar acquittals before it, sends to communities of color across the nation.”
Minnesota State Patrol said they arrested 18 protesters following the demonstration for failing to comply with orders to disperse.