ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A jury weighing the fate of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a black motorist asked Tuesday to re-watch two key videos.
St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter after he fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, last July in an incident that drew national attention and led to weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen painted Yanez as an unreliable witness during his closing arguments, saying that the officer acted prematurely and that Castile "never reached for his gun, let alone put his hands on it", the Star Tribune reports.
Paulsen rebutted the defense's argument that Castile ignored Yanez's commands not to reach for his gun. Five of the seven shots he fired struck Castile.
The jury also re-watched video shot and livestreamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Defense Attorney Paul Engh leaves the Ramsey County Courthouse after presenting closing arguments in the case of Jeronimo Yanez in St. Paul, Minn. on Monday, June 12, 2017.
Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and with two lesser counts of endangering Reynolds and her then-4-year-old daughter for firing his gun into the vehicle near them.
The BCA transcript of Yanez's interview with the BCA the day after the shooting was never admitted into court and therefore could not be reviewed.
Leary III defined culpable negligence in his jury instructions as "intentional conduct that the defendant may not have meant to be harmful, but that an ordinary and reasonable prudent person would recognize as involving a strong probability of injury to others", adding the concept includes gross negligence coupled with an element recklessness.
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Yanez killed Castile after pulling him over for a broken taillight July 6.
Squad-car video played repeatedly for the jury last week shows that the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after the driver volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me".
In his statement to the BCA about what he saw in Castile's hand, Paulsen claimed Yanez said, "I know he had an object and it was dark". "That wasn't my intention", Yanez said while wiping tears from his eyes, CNN affiliate WCCO reported. "We need to step up to be heard up front and (be the) first to do the right thing".
The officer might have heard Castile say he was just trying to get his wallet, Paulsen said.
He says Yanez legitimately thought Castile was a robbery suspect. "That wasn't my intention", Yanez said, according to local outlet WCCO.
The defense attorney also refuted the inconsistencies in Yanez's statements using the word "it" instead of "gun".
He said it was reasonable to deduce that Castile had smoked marijuana the day of the shooting because THC, the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis, was found in his blood. And Yanez saw a gun and feared for his life, Gray added. "No", Yanez said, "I was sure".
After three white alternates were dismissed after closing arguments, the 12-member jury included two black and ten white people.