Yanez trial opening statements: Squad video played, Diamond Reynolds takes stand

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A courtroom sketch of Officer Jeronimo Yanez watching the dashboard camera footage from the day he shot Philando Castile.

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

Nine men and six women were chosen as jurors, with three alternates, after a protracted fight over one Ethiopian-American immigrant who ultimately was placed on the jury. She is one of two African-Americans serving on the panel.

Squad video played

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.’”

Diamond Reynolds takes the stand

Diamond Reynolds took the stand for about 30 minutes Monday before court was adjourned for the day. Reynolds discussed her relationship with Castile, and is expected to discuss the shooting during her continued testimony Tuesday.

Philando Castile was shot and killed by Officer Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6. The aftermath of the fatal shooting was broadcast on Facebook Live by Diamond Reynolds, who was a passenger in Castile’s vehicle.

Several prospective jurors had strong opinions about Reynolds’ video and her actions the night of the shooting.

Gun permit allowed as evidence

Earlier in the day, both sides reached several compromises over the admission of evidence in the trial, with the judge allowing prosecutors to show Philando Castile had a valid permit to carry a firearm and the defense to explore whether Castile lied on an application about previous marijuana use.

The jury will also hear how much of the drug was in Castile's car on the day of the shooting, as well as receive his postmortem toxicology report.