Yanez's lawyers: Castile smoked pot and was negligent, so throw out charges - Bring Me The News

Yanez's lawyers: Castile smoked pot and was negligent, so throw out charges

The attorneys argue it was at least partially Philando Castile's fault he was shot and killed.
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A sign outside the Governor's Residence during protests following Philando Castile's death.

A sign outside the Governor's Residence during protests following Philando Castile's death.

Jeronimo Yanez's attorneys are arguing charges against the officer for shooting and killing Philando Castile should be dismissed – because Castile used pot, and that (at least in part) led to the shooting.

The argument (which you can read in this court document, filed Wednesday) is centered around one main point: Castile was an admitted marijuana user.

They back this up by listing several reasons: photographs on his Instagram account from four years ago included images of marijuana; he'd been cited three times from 2005-08 for having marijuana in a vehicle; blood tests after Castile's death showed high levels of THC in his system; and Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend who was in the car at the time, told investigators they smoked pot.

Also according to the document, Castile said he was not an "unlawful user of any controlled substance" on his permit to carry application.

How is this tied to his death on July 6?

Because of all that, Castile should not have been driving that night, and should not have had a gun, the attorneys argue.

The night he was stopped by Yanez, Castile also was unable to listen to his commands because he was stoned, the document argues – he stared straight ahead, didn't make eye contact, and didn't show his hands.

All this shows that Castile "was culpably negligent, and was the substantial cause of his own demise," the memorandum says.

And that's why the charges against Yanez should be dismissed, the attorneys say.

Castile's lawyers respond

The lawyers for Valerie Castile – Philando's mother – responded Thursday with a statement.

"This is the designed play for the defense of police officers who kill citizens, always blame the victim," the statement reads.

Castile's lawyers went on to say having marijuana in one's system isn't reason enough for an officer to kill that person.

Deadly force is only to be used when necessary to protect the peace officer or another from apparent death or bodily harm, which Castile's lawyers argue was not a concern.

The charges

Yanez last month was charged with manslaughter, as well as two counts of intentionally firing a dangerous weapon. He'd told investigators he was scared for his life at the time of the shooting, that he couldn't see where Castile's hands were and worried Castile was reaching for the gun.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi made the decision to bring criminal charges without the use of a secret grand jury. Here's part of what he said at the time:

"Based upon our full and exhaustive review of the facts, have come to the conclusion that there simply was no justification for the use of deadly force by officer Yanez in this case. ... No reasonable officer who knew, saw or heard what officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances."

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