Lawyers for cop in Castile shooting want charges dropped

Courtesy of the City of Falcon Heights
St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez

And I’d like a million dollars and a Porsche.  The AP story says, “Attorneys for Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who killed a Philando Castile during a July traffic stop, are asking that charges against him be dismissed. Yanez’s attorneys are filing a motion that says Castile was negligent in his own death because he was driving while high and did not follow Yanez’s commands. In the documents, attorney Earl Gray wrote that autopsy results showed Castile had high levels of THC in his blood, and that an objective review of squad video confirms Yanez’s description of why he acted in self-defense.”

In the PiPress, David Knutson and Sarah Horner write, “The documents supporting dismissal of charges against Yanez say that Reynolds admitted to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officials that she and Castile were both marijuana ‘smokers’ and had smoked marijuana before being stopped. ‘Her statement corroborates Officer Yanez’s observation that the smell of marijuana permeated the Castile automobile,’ the documents state. On his application to carry a firearm, Castile had denied that he was an ‘unlawful user of any controlled substance,’ according to the documents. ‘Narcotic users are not eligible to own, let alone carry, a firearm on their person,’ according to the documents. Castile had been issued three marijuana-in-vehicle citations in 2005, 2006 and 2008, according to the documents.” Just so I have this right: We’re to believe that Castile was so aggressive and threatening under the influence of the madness-inducing reefer that there was no other option other than to shoot him … seven times? 

Entirely related. David Montgomery and Mara Gottfried in the PiPress report, “St. Paul police officers routinely stop, search and ticket black drivers at higher rates than white drivers, 15 years’ worth of traffic stop data show. The police department released information Wednesday covering nearly 700,000 traffic stops dating to 2001, though much of the data, including many stops that occurred before 2005, is incomplete. … St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said he is uncertain about why the disparities are occurring, but he has plans for the department to collect additional data in the future that may provide answers.”

And also. Peter Cox of MPR says, “The St. Paul City Council gave its final approval of pulling police from the panel that handles complaints against officers, and the police union head isn’t happy. The council voted 5-2 Wednesday night to remove voting officers from the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission. … Dave Titus, head of the St. Paul Police Federation, said taking cops from the panel strips it of expertise. ‘Now you are going to have a bunch of civilians that have never ever walked in the shoes of being a cop,’ he said. ‘Granted, they have other life experiences, which is important, but we’re judging officers’ actions whether or not they deviated from policy and procedure and their training.’”

It’s getting worse by the minute for those Gopher players. Joe Christensen and Brandon Stahl of the Strib say, “Five of the 10 University of Minnesota football players suspended from the team in the fallout of a student’s sexual assault allegation now face expulsion from school, the players’ attorney, Lee Hutton, said Wednesday night. Four other players face a one-year suspension and another could get probation stemming from the Sept. 2 incident. The school discipline comes weeks after a criminal investigation resulted in no arrests or charges. … [One of the players] acknowledged having sex with the woman, but was adamant that it was consensual. As proof, he played them three separate videos, totaling about 90 seconds, taken that morning.”

A milk drive? John Hageman for the Forum News Service says, “In frigid conditions on the loading dock of Hugo’s grocery store Wednesday morning in Grand Forks, food bank officials began filling a truck with cartons of milk. The donation was the result of the Great American Milk Drive in October, in which Hugo’s customers donated funds while they checked out at the register. In all, about 7,586 gallons of milk will be donated in North Dakota and Minnesota, with 5,576 going to the Great Plains Food Bank, which is based in Fargo.”

Namin’ names. Says Stribber Rochelle Olson on the US Bank luxury suites escapade. “On Monday, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) released the names of dozens of people who had been guests of commissioners and staff members in two luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium. Some of the people are well-known, such as Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal and her husband, state Management and Budget Office Commissioner Myron Frans. Others are known more to insiders such as Gov. Mark Dayton’s spokesman Linden Zakula and his wife, Ali Fetissoff, who is listed as a friend of Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the MSFA. Zakula’s $200 reimbursement was part of the $21,000 collected in reimbursements since the newspaper started asking questions about the suites last fall.” Did they get free parking, too?

The slow death of sliders. Says Liz Sawyer in the Strib, “The White Castle restaurant in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood served its last slider Sunday morning, closing for a renovation that will transform the space into another Tim Hortons. Although the property sale will not be finalized until next week, owners shut down the burger joint on the corner of E. Lake Street and 36th Avenue S., where the building has stood since 1963. Employees were notified about the sale last Monday and 18 staff members will be transferred to White Castle locations of their choosing, a restaurant manager said.”

Not since 12 years ago have pending home sales been this strong. Says Jim Buchta in the Strib, “Rising mortgage rates and balmy weather kept home buyers shopping in the Twin Cities last month, leading to deals at a pace usually seen in summer. And December appears to be shaping up as nearly as busy, real estate agents and market watchers said Wednesday. … In November, the number of pending home sales in the Twin Cities rose 9 percent to 3,780, the highest level for any November since 2004 … .”

Jay Boller of City Pages has a timeline of The Year in Twin Cities Music. A couple highlights (you may have forgotten). “Swedish sad-boy rapper Yung Lean cancels his show at the Fine Line in the wake of online bomb threats. … The legendary Iggy Pop humped amplifiers, writhed on the floor, and effectively behaved like a crazed puppy possessed by rock ’n’ roll at Northrop Auditorium … .” Note to self: Gotta get me more “sad boy rap.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/15/2016 - 09:38 am.

    A couple problems . . . .

    A couple problems with the legal arguments as presented in the above articles:

    1) Philando Castile was not “driving while high” because Philando Castile was not the one driving


    2) Marijuana is not a narcotic, therefore, the use of marijuana did not make Philando Castile a “narcotic user” as stated by the attorney

    Those lawyers really need to do a better job with their fact-checking . . . . .

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 12/15/2016 - 10:09 am.


      I am pretty sure Mr. Castile was driving the car.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/15/2016 - 10:17 am.

        In the video . . . .

        He was sitting on the righthand side.

        • Submitted by Howard Salute on 12/15/2016 - 12:12 pm.

          Righthand side and camera angles fool

          I agree people need to get their fact straight before commenting. Follow link to observe position of steering wheel.

          Of course Castile was driving!

          • Submitted by David LaPorte on 12/15/2016 - 02:07 pm.

            Look at the seat belt

            It appears to me that Castile has the passenger’s seat belt buckled over his right shoulder. It’s a bad camera angle to judge where he is relative to the steering wheel and he’s slumped across the front seat.

            From this video, I don’t believe that he was driving.

            • Submitted by Richard Rowan on 12/15/2016 - 04:49 pm.

              Cell Phone Reverses Image

              The front facing camera on cell phones provides a mirror image. It does look like he’s sitting in the passenger seat, but that’s because the image is reversed.

              So far I have not seen any evidence that Mr. Castile did anything to provoke his death. Attempts to blame him for his own death because he may or may not have smoked marijuana seem to be the typical tactics of people who want to shift blame to the victim. Smearing the victim has been an effective tactic in many of these cases.

    • Submitted by David Wintheiser on 12/15/2016 - 10:18 am.


      You’ve left yourself open to criticism on this one, Pat — both the police report and the video show Mr. Castile in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, so unless the two people in the car switched seats before the officer reached the car, it’s pretty clear Mr. Castile had been driving.

      You are correct, though, that the legal definition of ‘narcotic’ in Minnesota does not include marijuana or cannabis, although coca leaves/cocaine and methamphetamines are legally considered narcotics in Minnesota despite not being considered narcotics in a medical sense (both are considered stimulants). Prosecutors routinely use the term ‘narcotic’ to refer to marijuana in press conferences and other public statements, though, as a way of provoking additional negative reaction to its illicit use.

      David Wintheiser

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/15/2016 - 10:51 am.

        I really don’t want to watch the video again . . .

        but the image of him slumped over in the seat with his girlfriend to his left is pretty well burned into my mind.

        • Submitted by Dan Lind on 12/15/2016 - 12:04 pm.

          RHD vehicle?

          Castile was sitting on the right with his girlfriend on the left. It appears that he was therefore driving a right-hand drive car? Either that, or the video camera angle makes it appear as if a steering wheel is in front of him. My recollection from watching that video the first time months ago was that he was the passenger, too.

          What kind of car was he driving?

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/15/2016 - 12:44 pm.

            Video reversed

            The video released was backwards, making it look like he was in the passenger seat. He wasn’t – he was driving. This is not in dispute.

            Google is your friend, people.

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 12/15/2016 - 10:54 am.

      Those lawyers

      Castile was driving. Check YouTube.

      Marijuana is a controlled substance according to Minnesota state statute. Carrying a gun while under the influence of a controlled substance is against the law.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 12/15/2016 - 01:37 pm.

        Which is irrelevant

        It doesn’t matter if he was under the influence. All that matters was his behavior.

        • Submitted by Robert Owen on 12/15/2016 - 03:08 pm.

          You’re right, what mattered here is his behavior. I don’t believe the officer was justified based on what I know. But my earlier comment was addressing other comments about drugs and legally carrying a gun, not whether the shooting was justified or not.

Leave a Reply