No Justice, Once Again … Another Sad Day …

It should have come as no surprise.  My heart should not have dropped into my shoes.  I should not have had any tears left to cry.  But it did, it did, and I did.

Jeronimo Yanez was just acquitted by a jury in the murder … yes it was murder … of Philandro Castile in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Need I state that Jeronimo Yanez is white, Philandro Castile was black?

Sequence of events:

06 July 2016 – 32-year-old Philandro Castile, cafeteria manager at the local Montessori school, was driving with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds a few minutes after 9:00 p.m., when police officer Jeronimo Yanez, age 29, pulled him over in a ‘routine’ traffic stop allegedly because of a burned-out brake light. Yanez approached the car window and asked Castile for his license and proof of insurance. As Mr. Castile reached for his wallet, presumably to get his driver’s license, Yanez pulled his gun and shot Mr. Castile through the window … not once, not twice, but seven times.  While Ms. Reynolds sat in the passenger seat of the car and her 4-year-old daughter, Dae’Anna, was in the backseat!  Yanez claimed that he thought Mr. Castile matched the description of a suspect in a recent robbery.  He also said that he thought Castile was going for his gun, which was disputed by Ms. Reynolds. The County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Castile’s death a homicide and said he had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

Diamond and daughter

Diamond Reynolds and Dae’Anna in the aftermath

Ms. Reynolds began video on her phone just as the shooting ended, and livestreamed to Facebook … video that went viral within a short time and that was also presented as evidence at trial.

16 November 2016 – Prosecutors charged Yanez with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting, saying that “no reasonable officer” would have used deadly force in the same situation. Yanez was also charged with two felony counts for intentionally discharging the gun.

30 May 2017 – The trial of Jeronimo Yanez begins with jury selection.

12 June 2017 – Closing arguments complete, the jury of 10 white and 2 black people begins deliberations

16 June 2017 – The jury returns a ‘not guilty’ verdict

The trial:

During the trial, Yanez testified that he had been parked in his squad car when he saw Castile drive by, and they ‘made eye contact’.  “He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look. It’s a trigger.” (Of course he did … just the day before, another black man, Alton Sterling, had been brutally murdered by white police officers!  Black males in this country know what they can expect at the hands of white police officers!)

Yanez said that gave him “strong suspicions” about Castile, whom he believed could be one of the robbery suspects from a robbery that had taken place four days prior.  Yanez said Castile had a nonworking brake light, which gave him legal grounds to conduct a “pretext” traffic stop that’s then used to investigate other crimes.

Yanez claimed at trial that he saw Castile begin pulling a gun out of his pocket, although immediately after the shooting, he told his supervisor that he had not seen a gun and did not know where it was. Ms. Reynolds testified that Castile was reaching into his pocket for his driver’s license.

Yanez also claimed that he smelled marijuana in the car.  Marijuana was, in fact, later found in the car, however … Yanez’ lawyer, Earl Gray, claimed that Mr. Castile had been under the influence of marijuana and delayed in his reactions at the time of the shooting. “We’re not saying that Philando Castile was going to shoot Officer Yanez,” Mr. Gray said. “What we’re saying is that he did not follow orders. He was stoned.” But video from Yanez dash-cam proves otherwise, showing that Mr. Castile was driving normally, pulled over quickly and was alert and courteous when talking to Officer Yanez.

Earlier in the week, the jury was divided 10-2 … I can guess which jurors argued for a conviction and which for an acquittal.  But somehow by Friday they decided to absolve Yanez of all charges.  I will not speculate on those deliberations, but instead leave it to your own imaginings.

Officials in the St. Anthony, Minnesota, police department said, they have decided “the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city.”

The murders of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile resulted in the nations of the Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain issuing travel advisories for citizens who might be considering travel to the U.S.

The murders of both Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile are a wart on the nose of the United States.  The absolution of their murderers proves that justice in this nation is prejudiced, that justice here is anything but just if you are an African-American.  Just like the cases of Freddie Gray, Keith Lamont Scott, Michael Brown, Paul O’Neal, Christian Taylor, Tamir Rice, and so many more, once again, justice was not served. As long as we are content to have a proven racist in the position of Attorney General, it never will be.  As long as we turn our backs and wear our blinders, it never will be.  Until we ALL stand up and speak out against racism, against white supremacy, against mistreatment of our fellow human beings, it never will be. Today was another sad day for the United States of America … one of many such days.


32 thoughts on “No Justice, Once Again … Another Sad Day …

  1. Trying to stand back here with my civil service hat on.
    There is something institutionally wrong in where an officer of the law reacts in this way, we all go into public service work with our prejudices and knee-jerk thoughts. It is essential the system itself trains people to be ‘above’ the situation while at one looking to solve it.
    From the outside it can only be concluded from the jury verdict that there is an underlying notion that it is alright to use deadly force; ‘let’s do it to them, before they do it to us’ syndrome.
    This in turn makes sections of the public antagonistic to the police force, which in turn heightens the suspicions and fear (Cold War syndrome).
    Leadership, firm and resolved should come, continually from on top down, but since the USA is currently suffering by not have in any sense of the ethical and moral that leadership the people have to try and work for this themselves.
    The officer, I notice has a latino name: Had he a ‘latino’ shot a white person would we be hearing about ‘those latinos all being trigger happy’?.
    Oh, LBJ for all your faults and demons the USA could do with you now.
    Take care all

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Gronda Morin and commented:
    During the May-June 18, 2017 New York City’s Shakespearean production in the Central Park Festival, the actor playing Julius Caesar appears on stage dressed as a Donald Trump lookalike were he is stabbed to death in the third act.

    As per an AP report Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director who also directed the play, issued a statement indicating that “anyone seeing our production of ‘Julius Caesar’ will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone,”

    “He added that the original play and this production “make the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic methods pay a terrible price and destroy their Republic. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again.”

    But the right is turning this message around to its ugliest interpretation in order to score “political points” and to throw red meat to the republican party’s base of supporters.

    It took only a couple days after the US congressional baseball field shooting to go for the cheap shots in demonizing the motives of others who are not of like minds.

    You have to read the rest of the story as narrated by Jill Dennison of…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jill, I am a 58 year old white man and when I am stopped by a police officer or patrolman I have never feared for my life. Even when dressed in his Sunday best, a black man has to move ever so slowly as this may be the last thing he does on earth.

    I would not want to be a law enforcement officer, but we must challenge the thinking that mistakes are not made. I have a hard time with justified shootings when an office fires his weapon so many times – seven, eleven, fifteen and even 41 shots have been fired, the latter being the chorus of Bruce Springsteen’s song “American Skin.”

    If I were a black man, it would be hard to not feel disillusioned by a system that makes the climb more uphill than mine as a white man. Thanks for sharing this. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I have a number of African-American friends who have been the victim of racial profiling in traffic stops, and one who actually spent time in prison for a crime he did not commit, he had a sound alibi, and there was only circumstantial evidence. As long as there is no penalty for officers who abuse their power in this way, it will not stop. And with Sessions at the helm, there will be no penalties.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Yes, I suspect you are correct about that. BUT … if Rosenstein is forced to recuse himself or is fired, that leaves Brand in charge of the Russian investigation. If Rosenstein is fired, Brand would, in the event Sessions steps down, be in charge of Justice. Beneath her, next in line, would be Associate Attorney General, a position that has not been filled yet. I am eager to see Sessions gone, partly because of his bigotry, partly because of his dishonesty. And I have confidence in Rosenstein. But beneath him??? Sigh.


    • Yes, we are. Interestingly, I believe we began moving backward when Obama was president … not because of anything he did, but simply because he was African-American and the less educated in the country saw that as a threat. So, along comes Trump & Co., promising to ‘build a wall’, ban Muslims, and by default make America ‘white’ again, and they figured it was now okay to hate people based on the colour of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, and even their gender identification. Nothing surprises me anymore, but it makes me sad to think that we are not far away from seeing the same type of race riots we had in the 1960s. I thought we were better than this.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The threshold for decency and justice has been lowered to zero in the US. Today is the anniversary of the discovery of burglary at the DNC headquarters. It brought down a President. Under this illegitimate orange President, he can shoot a person on the street, and get away with it. The gall and temerity is surreal.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Dear Jill,
    This is a travesty of our justice system and with the alt-right US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in charge of the US Department of Justice, we cannot expect any judicial relief in sight.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Such injustice is scary. If people are in anyway singled out by government institutions as subursive (through colour, religion or beliefs), justice passes them by. Indeed, it is reminiscent of brutal ‘cleansing’ of unwanted peoples.

    When Canadians were under the prime minister, Stephen Harper’s government, many people appeared on his special ‘terrorist list’ just because they were environmentalists, animal rights activists, or just happened to march in a protest for ‘peace.’

    We are witnessing the unravelling of civilisation folks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, and that is what I fear is beginning to happen here … people who disagree with Trump & Co. will be targeted. I try not to sound alarmist, but given the administrations disdain of the press, it follows that freedom of speech has little value to them, unless of course, it is their own speech.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t even finish reading this tragic story. As an Australian (and believe me I know we have our own problems) I am so tired of hearing stories like this again and again from USA. When will we all stop hating and start loving each other. It’s not meant to be like this. I’m so sorry this happened to this family.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Believe me, I share your angst. As to when we will stop hating … my best guess is never. The human race has been around for several millennium and we haven’t figured it out yet, so I very much doubt we ever will. Some of us get it, and some always will, but … there will be hatred, bigotry and wars until we just wipe ourselves off the earth, I imaging. Sorry … that sounded really gloomy, didn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: No Justice. No Peace. Once again. – The Militant Negro™

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