Cop's defense: Philando Castile was high when I pulled him over

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In an autopsy, Philando Castile was found to have elevated levels of THC in his blood.

Attorneys for Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony Police Department cop who killed Philando Castile, have introduced their first line of defense.

Castile was high on marijuana, so the second-degree manslaughter charges against Yanez should be dropped.

There's a bit more to the arguments for dismissal Yanez's legal team filed Wednesday. But not much. The Pioneer Press reports the defense is focusing on the levels of THC -- the chemical compound in pot that gets people high -- found in Castile's blood during his autopsy.

Those elevated amounts prove Castile was "culpably negligent" as a driver, and was unable to follow Yanez's orders. 

Here's how Yanez described the same moment to a fellow officer soon after the shooting, according to the criminal complaint Ramsey County Attorney John Choi filed against Yanez last month:

"And I don't know where the gun was, he didn't tell me where the fucking gun was and then it was just getting hinky, he gave, he was just staring straight ahead, and the I was getting fucking nervous, and then I told him, I know I fucking told him to get his fucking hand off his gun."

According to the audio obtained from the scene, Yanez's orders to Castile -- who had informed him he was licensed to carry a firearm -- were that he take out his gun. "I'm not pulling it out," Castile replied.

Moments later, Yanez fired seven close-range shots into Castile's car, which also contained his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter.

As Yanez explained to a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigator the day after the shooting, he was "in fear for my life and the life of my partner," as well as the "life of the little girl in the backseat." He said he aimed his shots at a certain angle to avoid hitting Reynolds' daughter.

Yanez now contends he knew Reynolds and Castile had been smoking before he pulled them over that night, as "the smell of marijuana permeated the Castile automobile." 

His lawyers say smoking that evening had effectively rendered Castile's firearms permit invalid: "Narcotic users are not eligible to own, let alone carry, a firearm on their person."

Yanez who has been in Ramsey County jail since turning himself in on November 17, is scheduled for a first court appearance on Monday. 


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