Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, learned late Tuesday night that Ramsey County Attorney John Choi intended to prosecute the officer who shot and killed her son this July.
Following Choi’s public announcement Wednesday morning, Valerie came out in support of the second degree manslaughter charge against St. Anthony Police Department Officer Jeronimo Yanez.
“We are here in solidarity, my family and I, to support that decision,” Valerie said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “We have gotten to this point and it is necessary for everyone to understand that we want peace. We don’t want any protests to get outrageous. … I’m thankful we have come to this chapter, and it’s a beginning to another chapter.”
If convicted of the manslaughter charge, Yanez could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years under Minnesota law. (He also faces two other felonies for endangering Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, and her 4-year-old daughter.) Early reactions on social media simultaneously commended the county attorney for bringing the first unjustified shooting charges against a Minnesota officer in more than a decade, and criticized him for not pressing more serious murder charges.
The Castiles’ attorney, Glenda Hatchett of “Judge Hatchett” fame, said the worst thing that could happen would be for the county attorney to overcharge Yanez and fail to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We prefer for it to be thorough [rather] than fast,” she said. “A very important caveat to that is, this is a process. [Yanez] is entitled to his day in trial. We are hopeful that justice will be served in this matter.”
Hatchett promised there will be a wrongful death civil suit filed sometime in the future. She says the Castile family’s statements Wednesday will be their final public remarks until a verdict is delivered.
Yanez is due in court Friday afternoon.
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