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Memorial And Vigil Held On Anniversary Of Philando Castile Killing By Police Officer

Source: Stephen Maturen / Getty

An ex-police officer who was acquitted after committing arguably one of the most egregious, blatantly unjust and racist high-profile killings of Black people now wants to be a teacher. Fortunately, the courts keep standing in his way.

Jeronimo Yanez, the former Twin Cities, Minnesota, police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile in 2016, was denied a license to teach this week by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which upheld a 2021 court ruling that backed the decision by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), which denied his application for a license in 2020, according to CBS News.

Yanez, who was acquitted in 2017 of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm, first applied for a teacher’s license in February 2020, when he was already working as a part-time Spanish teacher at a private school. After the board rejected his application, he appealed the decision in July 2021, but an administrative law judge backed the board, which said it denied a license to the killer cop due to his “immoral character or conduct.” The judge wrote Yanez “took a life that he should not have taken,” “endangered the others in the vehicle, one of whom was a young child,” and “prejudged Castile in a manner that indicated ‘racial bias, microaggressions, and negativity bias’ that would be ‘detrimental to students, especially students of color.’” 

That judge did not tell a single lie.

Let’s just take a look back at the specifics of Castile’s killing.

It happened during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, on Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The shooting, which was Livestreamed on his girlfriend’s Facebook page, occurred while Castile was nervously trying his best to comply with Yanez’s demands, and in a matter of seconds after he informed the officer that he had a gun and a license to carry it. Castile’s girlfriend and her then-4-year-old daughter were in the car at the time.

Yanez later said in his report that he pulled Castile over under the pretense that he had a broken taillight because he believed Castile resembled a Black armed robbery suspect described as having a “wide-set nose.” For added context (not that it’s necessary), here’s a photo of Castile and his regular-degular negro nose that is no more “wide-set” than any Black nose one will commonly come across.

So, it’s virtually undeniable that Yanez racially profiled Castile, as the judge said. But what made this case even more enraging were the excuses he made for firing multiple shots at point-blank range into a car with a small child in the back seat and killing a man who was trying to comply with his orders.

From the Washington Post:

On July 7, about 16 hours after fatally shooting Castile, Yanez sat down with the investigators. Yanez told them he stopped Castile not for a broken taillight, as he told the driver when the stop began, but because he thought Castile matched the description of a suspect in a robbery days earlier.

The first thing he noticed when approaching the car, Yanez told investigators, was the smell of burning marijuana, according to the verbatim transcripts of the interview.

“I told them the reason for the traffic stop and then I wasn’t going to say anything about the marijuana yet because I didn’t want to scare him or have him react in a defensive manner. Um, he didn’t make direct eye contact with me and it was very hard to hear him, Uh he was almost mumbling when he was talking to me. And he was directing his voice away from me as he was speaking and as I was asking questions. Uh he kept his, hands in view and then I uh I believe I asked for, his license and insurance. And then I believe they told me, they asked for the reason for my traffic stop. And I told ’em the reason was the only, I think I told ’em the only rea, the reason I pulled you over is because the only active brake light working was the rear passenger side brake light.”

The traffic stop quickly shifted, Yanez said, when Castile told him he had a gun. Outside the car, Yanez could be seen sliding his hand onto his gun. According to Yanez, at the same time, he saw Castile “reaching down between his right leg, his right thigh area and the center console.”

The officer told investigators later that the marijuana smell remained in his mind, saying that because of the odor, he didn’t know whether Castile had the gun “for protection” from a drug dealer or people trying to rob him.

So, just to recap: Yanez lied about why he was pulling Castile over and clearly had no real probable cause to do so as Castile broke no traffic laws. He admitted to investigators that Castille “kept his hands in view” until he asked him for his license and insurance, which, for all Yanez knew, is exactly what he was reaching for when he shot him. Among Yanez’s absurd excuses for feeling the need to use deadly force was Castile mumbling and failing to make eye contact with the officer, which are indications that he was afraid or nervous, which Yanez only proved Castile was right to feel.

What’s wild is that Yanez was able to apply a cop’s go-to “I was in fear for my life” narrative to the alleged smell of marijuana, which he, with a straight face, claimed made him fearful because maybe Castile had the legal gun “for protection” from a drug dealer. Yanez also claimed he felt he had to shoot Castile because if he had “the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the 5-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?”

Bro, YOU FIRED A GUN MULTIPLE TIMES INTO THAT SAME CAR WITH THAT SAME GIRL WHO YOU KILLED A MAN RIGHT IN FRONT OF!!! But, sure, it was the alleged marijuana smell that put her and everyone else at risk. (Mind you, we have to take Yanez’s word for it that there was a weed odor at all, and we know he had already lied about why he pulled him over in the first place.)

There’s absolutely no reason Yanez shouldn’t be in prison right now, and he damn sure shouldn’t be anyone’s educator.

“The community knows about what he did and I don’t think the kids would be comfortable even having him there,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, told the Associated Press in 2022. “We have to think about our children’s comfort levels…We have to think about those children and the trauma they suffered because of what he did.”

Exactly.

SEE ALSO:

Philando Castile’s Mother Approves Of DA’s Push To End Prosecution of Certain Traffic Stops

3 Ways Philando Castile’s Mother Has Continued His Legacy

The post Ex-Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Is Stopped From Being A Licensed Teacher For Good appeared first on NewsOne.

Ex-Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Is Stopped From Being A Licensed Teacher For Good  was originally published on newsone.com