Patterico's Pontifications

6/19/2017

David French: Jury’s Verdict In Philando Castile Case Was A Miscarriage Of Justice (Added: Dash-Cam Video)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

Following the acquittal of Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez of manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, David French makes a very compelling argument that a miscarriage of justice occurred. I’m copying liberally from his post as it’s so well worth the read:

In considering the rightness of the verdict, pay close attention to the transcript of the fatal encounter. Here it is, via CNN:

9:05:00 p.m. — Castile’s vehicle came to a complete stop.

9:05:15 – 9:05:22 p.m. — Yanez approached Castile’s car on the driver’s side.

9:05:22 – 9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez exchanged greetings with Castile and told him of the brake light problem.

9:05:33 p.m. — St. Anthony Police Officer Joseph Kauser, who had arrived as backup, approached Castile’s car on the passenger’s side.

9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez asked for Castile’s driver’s license and proof of insurance.

9:05:48 p.m. — Castile provided Yanez with his proof of insurance card.

9:05:49 – 9:05:52 p.m. — Yanez looked at Castile’s insurance information and then tucked the card in his pocket.

9:05:52 – 9:05:55 p.m. — Castile told Yanez: “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Before Castile completed the sentence, Yanez interrupted and replied, “Okay” and placed his right hand on the holster of his gun.

9:05:55 – 9:06:02 p.m. — Yanez said “Okay, don’t reach for it, then.” Castile responded: “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…,” before being again interrupted by Yanez, who said “Don’t pull it out.” Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.” Yanez screamed: “Don’t pull it out,” and pulled his gun with his right hand. Yanez fired seven shots in the direction of Castile in rapid succession. The seventh shot was fired at 9:06:02 p.m. Kauser did not touch or remove his gun.

9:06:03 – 9:06:04 p.m. — Reynolds yelled, “You just killed my boyfriend!”

9:06:04 – 9:06:05 p.m. — Castile moaned and said, “I wasn’t reaching for it.” These were his last words.

9:06:05 – 9:06:09 p.m. — Reynolds said “He wasn’t reaching for it.” Before she completed her sentence, Yanez screamed “Don’t pull it out!” Reynolds responded. “He wasn’t.” Yanez yelled, “Don’t move! F***!”

If you read carefully, you’ll note that it appears that the officer shot Castile for doing exactly what the officer told him to do. Yanez asked for Castile’s license. Castile told him that he had a gun, and the officer – rather than asking for his carry permit, or asking where the gun was, or asking to see Castile’s hands – just says, “Don’t reach for it then.”

At that point, Castile is operating under two commands. Get his license, and don’t reach for his gun. As Castile reaches for his license (following the officer’s orders), and he assures him that he’s not reaching for the gun (also following the officer’s orders). The entire encounter, he assures Yanez that he’s following Yanez’s instructions.

…[T]he evidence indicates that Yanez was afraid for his life. He thought he might have been dealing with a robber (a fact he apparently didn’t tell Castile), and he testified that he smelled marijuana. But Castile was following Yanez’s commands, and It’s simply false that the mere presence of a gun makes the encounter more dangerous for the police. It all depends on who possesses the gun. If he’s a concealed-carry permit-holder, then he’s in one of the most law-abiding demographics in America.

French thus concludes that no matter what caused Yanez to panic and react as he did, he should have been held accountable:

I understand the inherent danger of police work. I also understand the legal responsibilities of men and women who volunteer to put on that uniform, and the legal rights of the citizens they’ve sworn to protect and serve. I’m aware of no evidence that Yanez panicked because Castile was black. But whether he panicked because of race, simply because of the gun, or because of both, he still panicked, and he should have been held accountable. The jury’s verdict was a miscarriage of justice.

According to reports, Yanez will not return to active duty in St. Anthony.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

The squad dash-cam video has been released, It’s awful to watch in every way. Consider this a warning. Here’s the question: “It’s clear that Yanez believed he was in danger — listen to the escalation between his calm “Don’t reach for it, then” to his second “Don’t pull it out!” before he fired (all of which go by quite quickly). But was that belief reasonable from the movements Castile was making? Bear in mind that if someone is drawing a weapon despite repeated commands not to, the officer is dead if he doesn’t react quickly.”

A Great Day for Free Speech: The Slants (and Ron Coleman) Win

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:13 am

The Slants have won. The disparagement provision of the Lanham Act has been declared unconstitutional, to the joy of free-speech advocates everywhere — and to the surprise of nobody following the case. In January, after reviewing the oral arguments, I wrote:

I remain cautiously optimistic that the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny trademark protection to so-called “disparaging” trademarks, will be struck down as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I predict the vote will be 7-1 — with Justice Sotomayor, the “wise Latina,” in the minority.

Well, even Justice Sotomayor hopped on board, and the decision was a hearty unanimous 8-0 — albeit with a bunch of opinions that I currently lack the time to sort through.

It’s a great day for the First Amendment.

If you want to read more about the background, you can do so here.

Congratulations to Ron Coleman of Archer & Greiner and the Likelihood of Confusion blog. I’m sure everyone remembers that Ron, along with the redoubtable Bruce Godfrey of Jezic & Moyse LLC, is still defending me in a censorious lawsuit brought by convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin. Give him a shout-out on the Twitters for me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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