St. Paul leaders start discussion in the wake of Yanez verdict

City and community leaders in St. Paul met on Saturday to begin a complex conversation, and try to turn the corner on the result of Friday’s verdict.

Fox 9’s Jack Highberger visited St. Paul College on Saturday to talk to leaders who are trying to change the discussion.

One day after Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of Philando Castile, and hours after a late-night protest, the question floating around the college was, “what comes next?”

“Across the country we’ve seen people that are disappointed in a verdict they don’t think is just and don’t quite understand,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

This was seen clearly Friday night, when disappointment turned into civil disobedience. 18 people were ultimately arrested after blocking traffic on highway 94.

At Saturday’s gathering, though, the focus was on dialogue.

J.J. Hill principal, Fatima Lawson, is optimistic. Philando Castile was a food supervisor at the school before his death last year.

In the months since, Castile’s legacy continues to be an inspiration.

“As a youth, mother and fellow centralite, I strive to raise my children with the kind of disposition Philando had," a speaker told the crowd.

Those gathered on Saturday hope to use his memory to make progress.

“We cannot move on totally without thinking about the past, but we can use experiences from the past to make the future much better.”