IN HIS OWN WORDS: Yanez describes Castile shooting in BCA interview

Officer Jeronimo Yanez testified to the jury that he “was able to see” Philando Castile’s gun. However, in Yanez’s one-hour interview with the BCA, recorded the day after the shooting, Yanez is less explicit.

Yanez told the investigator he “thought it was a firearm,” and used words like “it” and “something.”

The jury never heard the audio of the interview. The prosecution attempted to play it during cross-examination of Yanez, but the judge denied the request  because the prosecution never played the audio during their case.  The judge did allow the prosecutor to quote parts of the transcript during cross-examination. 

The jury requested the transcript during deliberations, but the judge denied the request as judges often do—encouraging jurors to rely on their own recollections and context.

Below are portions of the transcript when Yanez described key moments surrounding the shooting:

"And, at that point I, was scared and I was, in fear for my life and my partner's life. And for the little girl in the back and the front seat passenger and he dropped his hand down and, can’t remember what I was telling him but I was telling something as his hand went down I think. And, he put his hand around something. And his hand made like a C shape type um type shape and it appeared to me that he was wrapping something around his fingers and almost like if I were to put my uh hand around my gun like putting my hand up to the butt of the gun”.

“And then I lost view of it. Cuz he kept canting his shoulder and then I believe I told him again I can’t remember don't do it. And then he still kept moving his hand and at this point I looked and saw something in his hand. It was dark inside the vehicle. I was trying to fumble my way through under stress to look and see what it was to make sure uh what I was seeing. But I wasn't given enough time and like I said he had no regard for what I was saying. Didn't follow my direction. And, uh he started reaching out and then pulling uh away from his uh his right thigh. I don't know if it was in his pocket or in between the seats or the center console. But I, I know he had an object and it was dark. And he was pulling it out with his right hand. And as he was pulling it out I, a million things started going through my head, And I thought I was gonna die.”

“And I was scared because, I didn’t know if he was gonna, I didn't know what he was gonna do. He just had somethin’ uh his hands and he, the first words that he said to me were, some of the first words he said is that he had a gun. And I thought he was reaching for the gun. I thought he had the gun in his hand, in his right hand. And I thought he had it enough to where til he had to do is just pull it out, point it at me, move his trigger finger down on the trigger and let off rounds. And I had no other option than, to take out my firearm and, and I shot. “

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