Yanez trial: Diamond Reynolds returns to witness stand Tuesday

Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile's girlfriend, returned to the witness stand again Tuesday in the trial of St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez to share her account of the fatal shooting. 

Reynolds was in the car when Yanez fatally shot Castile. She livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Her four-year-old daughter was also in the car. 

Tuesday morning, the squad car video of the deadly traffic stop video was replayed, followed by Reynolds’ Facebook video.


On the witness stand, Reynolds acknowledged that Castile had a bag of marijuana in the car when she was picked up the night of the incident. She said Castile would smoke weed almost daily for the two to three years they were in a relationship.

Yanez defense attorney Earl Gray aggressively cross-examining Reynolds, and she acknowledged that she exaggerated how she was treated by police in the aftermath of the shooting. When asked why she started streaming the aftermath on Facebook Live, Reynolds said she felt people were not being protected against the police and wanted people “to know the truth” if she was shot in front of her daughter.

The judge allowed the jury to consider a question from the defense, asking Diamond Reynolds Diamond about the fact she has a civil attorney and could be considering a lawsuit against Officer Yanez and the police department. The defense believes this shows bias.


Yanez’s former partner, Officer Joseph Kauser, also took the stand on Tuesday. Kauser was providing backup for Yanez on the night of the shooting. He was near the backseat window when Yanez fired his gun.

Kauser went through the dashcam video frame almost frame-for-frame by the jury. He said at the outset, he could see everyone in the vehicle and their hands. He said the traffic stop was not initially a concern for him.

When making a traffic stop involving a driver with a conceal permit, Kauser said he typically asks where the gun is and orders the driver to keep their hands visible, which Yanez did not do.

DAY 1 

Opening statements were made Monday afternoon after several developments earlier in the day, including the final selection of the 12 jurors chosen to serve.

Prosecutors opened up the trial by playing police dashboard camera video of the incident, which showcases Yanez fire seven shots in close to 10 seconds. Several people in the gallery cried at the startling footage.

Before that, both sides showcased their general arguments in their opening statements, with the defense starting things off by pointing to Yanez' self-defense training.

“He has to be proactive,” Yanez defense attorney Paul Engh said. “He is trained to go home at the end of the night. He is trained to protect himself.”

The prosecution, however, pointed to the number of shots fired as evidence of excessive force.

“In less than ten seconds, he fired seven shots,” Rick Dusterhoft. “Castile was hit five times, including twice in the heart and his last words were, ‘‘I wasn’t reaching.’”

Reynolds took the stand for approximately 30 minutes on Monday before court was adjourned for the day she discussed her relationship with Castile. She will continue her testimony on Tuesday and is expected to discuss the shooting. 


June 5, 2017 - Opening statements made in trial

May 30, 2017 - Jury selection begins

November 16, 2016 - Officer Yanez charged with manslaughter

July 6, 2016 - Philando Castile fatally shot by Officer Jeronimo Yanez