Ramsey County attorney John Choi released the findings of the investigation of the Philando Castile shooting. Ramco charged Saint Anthony Park police officer Jeronimo Yanez with second-degree manslaughter in the death of the Saint Paul school employee last summer.
There are better commentators on the legalities and the sociology of this incident than me.
But there’s one angle that might be of some concern to those of you who exercise your second amendment rights. Castile was a carry permittee – meaning he had a clean criminal record (which also enabled him to get a job in a public school).
When you go through carry permit class, you’re taught that getting stopped by the police while carrying is one of the more dangerous times for a permittee. The rules are vague, and cops are (as we saw in the incident) often badly trained on the law and how to respond to carriers. But there are two generally-accepted trains of thought for the civilian carrier:
- Mention your permit and firearm only if the cop asks you to get out of the car. If it’s a simple traffic ticket, it’ll never be an issue.
- Mention, calmly and casually, up front, that you have a permit and are carrying, and where, and ask the officer how they’d like to proceed.
According to the evidence released yesterday, Castile went with #2:
Officer Yanez is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.
But – assuming the timeline above is accurate (and that will no doubt be a major subject at trial), it appears officer Yanez had a very intense reaction to…
To the fact that Castile was a black male who, according to some stories circulating last summer, allegedly resembled a suspect in a robbery?
If that were true, Officer Yanez apparently didn’t follow felony stop procedures; he approached it as a stop over a broken tail light. Which might, to the casual observer, make it appear like he wasn’t concerned Castile was the suspect.
Which leaves what? The carry permit status and the gun.
It’s possible Officer Yanez reacted with panic to learning that Castile had a permit and was armed, and over the course of seven seconds, went from asking a question to shooting Castile seven times at point blank range.
We don’t know. We may or may not find out at trial.
But I suspect, at least in part, that the hysteria about carry permittees and their guns spread by the anti-gun groups in this state had a role. Groups like “Protect” Minnesota and “Moms Want Action” have been painstakingly training people, mostly in and near the urban core, to be terrified of firearms in the hands of civilians.
And if that’s true, then there’s blood – the real kind – on the hands of the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence and the rest of the pack of liars she leads.