Philando Castile’s Family and Girlfriend Respond to Officer’s Manslaughter Charge
It's been four months since Philando Castile was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer, which was captured on a Facebook Live feed by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. While the horrifying images from the footage are still prominent in our minds, there is finally some progress in the case against the cop who was responsible for shooting him.
Yesterday, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez was officially charged with second-degree manslaughter, as well as dangerous discharge of a firearm. Castile's family and girlfriend, who captured the footage on Facebook at the time, are speaking out on the charges.
The family's attorney, Glenda Hatchett, spoke on their behalf, stating to the news station, "We see this as a historic decision, a historic time." The family supports the charge against the cop, despite many having protested for months for a more serious charge.
The attorney continued, "Certainly, if I had my druthers, the penalty would be more severe. But we have to be realistic. This is what the law says and this is the charge they brought. The worst thing that could happen is that the officer is overcharged and is found not to be responsible for the charges." Although some protesting may be expected as the trial is pursued, Castile's mother, Valerie, stated "We want peace. We don’t want any protests to get outrageous."
Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend at the time of the shooting, also responded to the news of the manslaughter charge. She expressed that it was not what she was expecting, but she respects the decision.
"We have to give credit where it’s due," she said. Many have also shown concern over Reynolds' 4-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat during the shooting. She confirmed that she is "amazing and full of life," and revealed, "Like any kid, she has questions, but she’s getting help."
We will keep Philando Castile's family, girlfriend, and other loved ones in our prayers as the trial moves forward.