The police officer accused of fatally shooting Philando Castile has pleaded not guilty in a Minnesota court. Castile’s death in July 2016 caused mass protests when the aftermath was streamed on Facebook Live by Castille’s girlfriend.
Jeronimo Yanez (28), who is currently on leave from the St Anthony Police Department, is charged with manslaughter with a trial date set for May 30. His attorney told the court on Monday that he will request the trial be moved from St Paul, which is just a few miles from Falcon Heights where Castile (32) was shot, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Prosecutors claim Yanez acted unreasonably when he shot Castile seven times while sitting in the passenger seat of a car at a traffic stop. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, began streaming the aftermath on Facebook Live, showing the bloodied Castile and his upset four-year-old daughter in the back seat.
The video quickly gained nationwide attention and received accusations of police brutality, sparking mass protests.
Earlier this month, Yanez’s attorneys attempted to have the case dropped, claiming Castile put himself at risk by allegedly consuming marijuana and disobeying police orders. The request was denied, however.
The shooting of Castile came just one day after the death of African-American Alton Sterling while pinned to the ground by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sparking a period of civil unrest in a number of areas of the US.