Girlfriend of Philando Castile settles with 2 cities for $800,000
The Minnesota woman who live-streamed the aftermath of boyfriend Philando Castile’s fatal shooting by police has settled with two cities for $800,000, the city of St. Anthony said Wednesday.
Neither Diamond Reynolds nor her daughter, who was 4 at the time, were injured during the traffic stop that led to Castile’s death, but Reynolds was handcuffed and she and her daughter were held by Roseville police after the shooting.
Reynolds had filed a claim in Ramsey County District Court, seeking money and “other relief” for emotional distress and false arrest.
The St. Anthony news release says their treatment after the shooting was “a matter of procedure.” The settlement is not an assignation of blame, but rather, a result of both parties’ desire “to avoid the protracted litigation involved with adjudicating state claims and potential civil rights claims, which may have taken years to resolve,” the city news release said.
“This settlement resolves all civil litigation stemming from the incidents on July 6, 2016, and opens the door to continued healing within our community,” Mayor Jerry Faust said.
St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile several times during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, which is in St. Anthony’s jurisdiction. Officers from the nearby Roseville Police Department responded to the scene after the shooting.
St. Anthony will pay $675,000 of the settlement, while an insurance trust will pay $125,000 on behalf of Roseville, the news release said.
“While no amount of money can change what happened, bring Philando back or erase the pain that my daughter and I continue to suffer, I do hope that closing this chapter will allow us to get our lives back and move forward,” Reynolds said.
In June, St. Anthony reached a $3 million settlement with Castile’s family.
Yanez pulled over Castile’s 1997 Oldsmobile last summer in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb. Prosecutors would later say the traffic stop emanated from Yanez’s unreasonable suspicion that Castile was a robbery suspect.
In police dashcam video, Castile volunteers that he is carrying a firearm. Yanez asks him not to reach for it and soon opens fire. As Castile lies dying in the car, both he and Reynolds tell Yanez he wasn’t reaching for the gun. Reynolds’ daughter is in the back seat.
Reynolds narrates the aftermath in a heartbreaking Facebook Live post.
She was later told to exit the car, and an officer placed her in the back of a police cruiser. Captured by another police camera, her daughter attempts to calm Reynolds’ nerves.
“Mom, please stop cussing and screaming,” she says. “I don’t want you to get shooted.”
Later, the girl tells her mother, “It’s OK. I’m right here with you.”
The two were taken to a special interview room with toys, books and blankets, where they were held for about two hours before officers gave the girl a teddy bear and dropped off the pair at home, Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig said at the time.
Officer acquitted, but no longer an officer
Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in November 2016.
At his trial, Yanez insisted that Castile went for his gun and said he had no option but to shoot because “I thought I was going to die.” Prosecutors countered that Yanez was nervous, lost control of the traffic stop and was too quick to pull the trigger.
A jury in June acquitted him on all counts. St. Anthony soon announced it was offering Yanez “a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer.”
The following month, the city said Yanez was no longer an officer and explained that, because he was convicted of no crime, Yanez could have filed a grievance had he been fired.
“The city concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed,” St. Anthony said in a news release.
In December, the Justice Department said it would review the St. Anthony Police Department’s practices, at the behest of the department and the cities it serves. That review is expected to be complete at the end of 2018.