The death of Philando Castile at the hands of 29-year-old Falcon Heights, Minnesota, Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez has been reviewed by a jury of Yanez’s peers, and he was acquitted. Should that be the end of the matter? Our Democratic Republic’s founding document says, “Yes.”
By Pat Merriman
The Sixth Amendment says so. A fair and impartial jury in the jurisdiction where the alleged crime occurred. Not in the media, not on the streets, and not on the soapbox where the ill-informed encourage the itching ears of anarchists. It’s the law and, it’s the bedrock of our political system which insures that an accused is not lynched.
The Castile case took on epic proportions because the mainstream media’s portrayal of events was so one-sided. An overzealous officer’s execution of a traffic violator on July 6, 2016, in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. A heinous violation of Castile’s civil rights and mandatory prison for Officer Yanez.
Except for one thing—a jury said that wasn’t true. Twelve citizens who actually reviewed the evidence in the case NOT the hysteria and found a reasonable doubt. TWO officers at the scene with erroneous information from a sister jurisdiction and marijuana smoking inside the target vehicle. Certainly not the basis for an execution but, a recipe for disaster.
The last 40 seconds of Castile’s life was a morass of bad choices. A tense, ill-informed cop, a driver with high levels of THC (marijuana), a legally owned/ carried gun in his belt, a shrieking passenger who kept interfering in the investigation, and a terrified, small 4-year-old child in the backseat in a potential line of fire. Pressure on top of pressure on top of pressure. A young officer trying to make sense of it all constantly intoning, “Don’t reach for it.”
In the aftermath of this tragedy, the inevitable criticism of the officer’s second-by-second decisions. The mainstream media high-lighting only the girlfriend’s mantra that, “He’s not pulling it out” or the small child’s pleas to her hysterical mother, “Mom, please stop cussing and screaming cause I don’t want you to get shooted.”
No attempt to calm the child or defuse the situation, rather, our modern sensational voyeurism, “Tell that to the police, OK? When they come, tell them that you wish that they didn’t have to kill people.” All on a cell phone video. Buy the emotion and ignore the law. The girlfriend reaches out to BLM, weeks of protests (riots), gun rights protests, 102 arrests, 21 officers injured and, rocks, bottles, Molotov cocktail, pepper spray and tear gas.
All summed up by Democrat Senator Al Franken, “I am horrified that we are forced to confront yet another death of a young African-American man at the hands of law enforcement.” As if this were solely a problem created by the government. Was this a justified shooting? I don’t know, I wasn’t there, I’m not entitled to an opinion. But, 12 jurors were unanimously there and, so was renowned use-of-force expert Joseph Dutton.
Dutton said that Castile’s actions would have led a reasonable police officer to fear that he was continuing to reach for a gun regardless as to what he was saying. “The individual had a gun, Yanez didn’t have time to figure out what his intention was, and once he saw Castile’s hand on the gun, de-escalating the situation was no longer an option.” A correct analysis? I don’t know, I wasn’t there…
But, after five days and more than 25 hours of deliberation, this jury spoke and, whether we like it or not, that’s the end of it. Unless we want to burn the Constitution and just let the mob rule. Ah, heck, maybe I’m just too old