Despite killing a registered gun owner during what should have been a routine traffic stop, 28-year-old officer Jeronimo Yanez is being portrayed as the good guy.
In an interview with Associated Press, St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth spoke highly of the officer that killed Philando Castile as he sat in the car with his girlfriend and her 5-year-old daughter. “[Officer Yanez] has a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people,” said Mangseth. “He showed me that he could shine in the public eye.”
Though the department vehemently denies the shooting was connected to racial bias, he is feeling the pressure of St. Anthony being under the public microscope. “There’s been no time in my career where we’ve ever had this type of dynamic at work, this national stage, so to speak,” said Mangseth. He continues, “This has put [Yanez] and his family front and center in our metro area, not to mention the nation.”
Yanez pulled over Castile on July 6th for a broken taillight. Castile disclosed to the officers that he had a licensed weapon in the car, and as he reached for his identification, was shot by a panicked Yanez who claimed to see Castile reach for his gun. The gruesome aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook Live by Castile’s girlfriend. No immediate assistance was offered to Castile, who was later pronounced dead as a nearby hospital.
The young officer, placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting, is expected back on the job this week to handle clerical duties as the investigation of the killing continued.
Castile had a gun and a valid license to carry a firearm inside his car when he was pulled over for the 53rd time in 14 years. More than half the charges brought from those stops were dropped without prosecution.