ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - One juror is sharing some insight into how the group of 12 found St. Anthony, Minnesota Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty on all counts in last summer’s shooting death of Philando Castile. The verdict came down shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, following 27 hours of deliberations over a full week.
Dennis Ploussard said the days of deliberations were not easy. There was a lot of thought and a lot of discussion before the turning point Thursday, when the last two jurors of the 12 flipped their decisions.
“It was very hard to come to the conclusion we did. Very hard,” Ploussard said. “We dissected the law yesterday for most of the day, where we could put it in layman's terms where we could understand it. Because the way the law is written by lawyers, you really have to sit down and dissect it and figure out what it really means, and we did that and the law was in favor of Yanez.”
Ploussard said the prosecution did not prove its case the way the law is written. He’s well aware there are members of the community who believe the jury simply got it wrong, but Ploussard said it's just not simple at all.
“Well they didn't see all the evidence we did,” he said. “And they didn't read what the law actually, really interprets the situation of manslaughter in the second degree.”
While it was most certainly emotional for the Castile family and the Yanez family, it was also very emotional for the jurors, especially when it all came to an end.
“I'm going to speak for our entire group of jurors is that when the verdicts were read we all went back into the jury room, we bowed our heads, not one of us said a word for at least five minutes. We were very, very compassionate about the Castile family.”
Ploussard did make it a point to say there was nothing about race that went into the verdict -- it came down to the law and the actions of that night.