Philando Castile’s fatal encounter last July with St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez lasted only a minute, but quickly escalated from a “respectful and compliant” exchange to one steeped in confusion and fear.The number seven matters here, because it suggests that Yanez panicked. I am guessing the charge of second-degree manslaughter is designed to get a plea agreement. The definition of second-degree manslaughter is here:
In an extraordinary move by a Minnesota prosecutor, authorities said the officer, not the civilian, is to blame for the tragic events that turned a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb into a flash point in the national debate over racial profiling and police use of force.
Yanez pulled Castile, a 32-year-old, over at 9:05 p.m. July 9 on Larpenteur Avenue near Fry Street in Falcon Heights. By 9:06 p.m., the young officer had fired seven shots into Castile’s car, killing him as his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter watched.
For those actions, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said at a news conference Wednesday morning, Yanez will be charged with three felony counts — second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. He’s the first Minnesota officer charged in an on-duty killing in modern memory.
609.205 MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE.Emphasis mine. The key word is unreasonable. What will a jury decide is reasonable? A lot hangs on the decision. I am, as I write this, about 100 feet away from St. Anthony Village. I will be watching events closely.
A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:
(1) by the person's culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or(2) by shooting another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon as a result of negligently believing the other to be a deer or other animal; or
(3) by setting a spring gun, pit fall, deadfall, snare, or other like dangerous weapon or device; or
(4) by negligently or intentionally permitting any animal, known by the person to have vicious propensities or to have caused great or substantial bodily harm in the past, to run uncontrolled off the owner's premises, or negligently failing to keep it properly confined; or
(5) by committing or attempting to commit a violation of section 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child), and murder in the first, second, or third degree is not committed thereby.
If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it shall be an affirmative defense to criminal liability under clause (4) that the victim provoked the animal to cause the victim's death.