The Washington Post reports that Officer Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who killed Philando Castile in 2016 during a traffic stop, pinpointed the smell of marijuana in Castile’s car as a sign that the deceased was potentially dangerous.
“I thought, I was gonna die,” Yanez reportedly told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension 15 hours after the shooting. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me.”
Claims that Castile was “stoned” and failed to follow the officer’s instructions during the fatal traffic stop made up Yanez’s defense team’s central argument during the trial.
A local Minnesota publication recounted Defense Attorney Earl Gray’s closing argument from the trial: “Had it not been for Castile’s decision to “get stoned” on marijuana before operating a vehicle while armed with a gun, and further his decision to “ignore” Yanez’s commands not to reach for his firearm, “none of this would have happened,” Gray told jurors.”
Last Friday (June 16), Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges.