Police arrest 18 protesters over motorist shooting verdict

It started immediately after jurors read the verdict in the trial of Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony police officer who faced manslaughter and felony weapons charges in Castile's death last summer.

It was the first time in the history of the state that a police officer was charged in a fatal shooting that happened on duty.

A memorial to Philando Castile still standing in September 2016, two months after the African American man was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony police officer. while pulled over for a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6, 2016.

On Friday morning, Yanez, 29, was cleared of a manslaughter charge as well as two lesser charges. "Y'all are next, and you will be standing up here fighting for justice just as well as I am".

"Let me go!" yelled Castile's mother, Valerie.

'My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away!

"I don't think this was a fair jury at all, made up of more than half middle-aged white people", she said.

The shooting death of Castile, 32, triggered local protests and fuelled debate across the USA over the appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

Many will be disappointed, heartbroken and angry over the verdict, she said.

The shooting gained national attention after the graphic video of the bloodied Castile - taken by his girlfriend Goldie Taylor inside the vehicle moments after he was shot - was posted on YouTube.

The roadside memorial at the site of Castile's death saw an influx of visitors, flowers, and signs. Castile had a permit for the weapon. Castile volunteered that he was legally carrying a gun. Prosecutors said Castile's last words were: "I wasn't reaching for it". City officials said they would offer him a "voluntary separation" because they had determined "the public will be best served" if he is no longer an officer in St. Anthony. Yanez fired seven bullets into Castile's auto shortly after the 32-year-old black man disclosed that he was carrying a firearm.

Castile's fully loaded gun was found in his shorts pocket, Ramsey County prosecutors said.

Yanez testified Castile was pulling the gun out against his instructions and he feared for his life. Prosecutor John Choi said the acquittal was painful, but that the verdict "must be respected". "I don't know how to do that", he said.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) expressed disappointment with the verdict and said it sends a message to minority communities. "It sends a very harsh message that we still have major race issues in this country". The dashcam video has not been made public, pending the outcome of the case.

Castile's shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the US. "Just because he was a police officer, that makes it OK".

January 4: Ramsey County District Court Judge William Leary III, who is white, is assigned to preside over Yanez's manslaughter trial. She did not appear on camera but released a statement to reporters reacting to the verdicts.

The protest was peaceful as darkness fell, but a smaller group splintered off and walked down an entrance ramp to block Interstate 94, quickly snarling traffic and leading to the freeway's shutdown in both directions. Marchers also blocked commuter trains at one point and chanted "Yanez Guilty".

Yanez was sacked from the police force following the verdict on Friday.

"Justice was done", Gray told Reuters by telephone.

"As hard as this is for some members of our community, we have to accept this verdict", he said.

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