Motion to Dismiss Filed in Castile Police Shooting Case

Officer Jeronimo Yanez (credit: Christian Dovratz)

St. Paul, Minnesota – Attorneys for the officer charged with the fatal shooting of Philandro Castile last summer have filed a “Motion to Dismiss” in Ramsey County court.

Attorney Earl Grey cites that Philandro Castile was culpably negligent when pulled over by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez because Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the stop and failed to properly follow police instructions.  In an incident that was recorded and published as a live stream on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and went viral as a result, Yanez fatally shot Castile.  The officer has been charged with felony manslaughter by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.  

Grey filed the documents on Dec. 14, arguing that “the autopsy conducted on the 32-year-old Castile indicated he had high levels of THC, the chemical found in marijuana, in his blood. As such, the documents argue, Castile ignored Yanez’ commands and stared straight ahead during the traffic stop and was culpably negligent in the incident,” the Pioneer Press reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, the documents also state that when Castile applied to carry a firearm, he denied being an “unlawful user of any controlled substance;” however, Reynolds admitted to police that she and Castile were marijuana smokers and had smoked marijuana prior to being stopped.  Yanez also stated after the stop that Castile’s vehicle was permeated with the smell of marijuana. The documents also state that Castile had been issued three marijuana-in-vehicle citations in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Neither the attorneys representing Castile’s mother or the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office had a statement on the new development.

The shooting and the viral video caused massive protests in St. Paul last summer, and have been cited as one of the reasons for the shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas a few days later.  Governor Dayton has been criticized for his part in the Dallas incident due to his statements claiming that Castile was shot by Yanez because of his race.