Castile Verdict, Bad – Carrying a Gun Should NOT Be a Capital Offense

By Jeff Knox : Opinion

Officer Jeronimo Yanez
Officer Jeronimo Yanez : Not Guilty …
Firearms Coalition
Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)-  The jury verdict clearing Officer Jeronimo Yanez of all charges in the shooting death of Philando Castille is a travesty.

Yanez demonstrated extremely poor judgment, failed to control a controllable situation, and let that situation take him out of control of himself. It's always easy to play Monday morning quarterback and point out all of the things someone did wrong, and all of the things they should have done differently, but this is basic training stuff, and Yanez missed it.

Going over the transcript of the dash-cam video, the one word that might have changed everything, and was conspicuously absent, was the simple word “Stop.”

When Castile politely told Officer Yanez he was carrying a firearm, Yanez said, “Okay, don't reach for it then,” to which Castile began to reply something illegible, and Yanez sternly said “Don't pull it out,” to which Castile replied, “I'm not pulling it out,” and his girlfriend chimed in from the passenger seat, saying, “He's not pulling it out.” At this point, Yanez yelled “Don't pull it out,” as he drew his own gun and fired seven times into the car.

The whole thing, from the moment Castile told Yanez that he was carrying a gun, to the moment Yanez began shooting, took less than 5 seconds – barely enough time to get the words out.

The key discrepancy between Officer Yanez's version of the events, and the testimony of Castile's girlfriend, is whether Castile actually touched the gun in his pocket. Yanez says he did, and that Castile was pulling the gun from his pocket, even as he was saying that he was not. The girlfriend contended that Castile never touched the firearm, but was attempting to obey Officer Yanez's instruction to produce his drivers license, by reaching for his wallet. She also claims that when Yanez yelled “Don't pull it out,” Castile stopped what he was doing and began moving his empty hands back toward the steering wheel, but Yanez began firing anyway.

Prosecutors pointed out that Yanez could have, and should have said something like “Freeze,” or “Put up your hands,” and critics have pointed out that Castile should have known to keep his hands on the wheel until he received specific instructions from Yanez. Both are right, and either of those actions by either of the men would probably have averted the tragedy. But Castile was apparently attempting to obey Yanez's instructions, and it's Yanez's job to be in control of the situation. Seven shots fired at Castile, with a little girl sitting in the back seat, is not control. And though Yanez was only inches away from Castile, two of the seven shots missed him completely.

The defense attorney argued that Yanez was acting within his training and accepted police protocol to protect himself. He said that Yanez had to shoot, because of the limited time police have to react to a deadly threat.

This points up a problem with police training focused on worst-case scenarios, and an irrational fear of anyone else being armed.

The former Chicago police commissioner, actually said that having concealed carry legal in the city would result in permit holders being shot by his officers, because he was training them that, when a gun is present, they should basically shoot first and ask questions later.

Something else that was claimed by the defense attorney, was that Yanez couldn't retreat, and that his only option was to shoot. Experienced officers will tell you that this is just not true. Taking a step toward the rear of the car would have not only taken Officer Yanez out of Castile's direct line of sight, requiring him to awkwardly try to shoot over his left shoulder – if that was his intention – it would also have positioned him so that firing at Castile would not jeopardize the little girl in the back seat, or the woman in the passenger seat, and it would have created the extra moment needed to determine Castile's intentions.

From the outset of this tragedy, many people have asked why the National Rifle Association didn't get actively involved in the case. Since Castile had a license to carry a firearm, they suggest that NRA should have leapt to his defense, and called for the prosecution of the officer. Many have gone so far as to claim that if Castile had been white, the NRA would have brought all of their power to bear.

That is an unfair accusation, and is simply not true.

The NRA has a long record of staying away from violent criminal cases, and especially police shootings. The case of Erik Scott, who was shot down by police as he and his girlfriend exited a Costco in Las Vegas, is a prime example. Scott was white, a West Point graduate and decorated veteran, and licensed to carry concealed, but the NRA didn't touch that case. Neither did they decry the killing of Jose Guerena, who was shot some 60 times in his own home during an unfounded, and terribly executed police raid in Tucson.

While many of us wish the NRA would get more involved in these cases, they feel they can do more good by helping to train officers better in dealing with armed citizens, and that taking a public stand in controversial police shooting cases, would only harm those efforts.

In the end, the shooting on Philando Castile was a terrible, and preventable tragedy. I personally think it was a “bad shoot,” and that there should have been a criminal penalty applied. Yanez seems like a relatively good guy, and I don't think his actions were based in malice, but he was wrong, and he shouldn't get a free pass. I don't think it was racially motivated, and it's frustrating to see the debate tracking in that direction. That will only serve to increase tensions, and distracts from the real problems. Those problems are poor police training and the double-standard the laws and courts apply to police, as opposed to regular citizens.

If a citizen pulled the trigger with no more cause than Yanez articulated, prison time would be virtually guaranteed.

My position in this article will illicit a barrage of criticism from friends and strangers in law enforcement and their supporters, which highlights another serious problem – the blind defense of the “thin blue line.” If law enforcement and their supporters can't rationally step back and call out their own when they cross the line, how will they ever be able to hold the public's trust?

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

66 thoughts on “Castile Verdict, Bad – Carrying a Gun Should NOT Be a Capital Offense

  1. Proper procedure is both hands on top of the steering wheel and your license and permit in your left fingers. You have plenty of time to grab them when you are stopped. After handing the license and permit put your left hand back on top of the steering wheel and wait for orders or questions.

    1. There is NO standardized or legally established proper procedure. Minnesota does not have or require a Concealed Carry course. Yes, CCW courses may teach these concepts in SOME states. Castile had plenty of experience being stopped by the police, 52 times in 14 years. I bet he was carrying during some of those previous stops and was doing what he normally did during these stops.
      The broken part of the system was Yanez, with his paranoia, poor communication skills and failure to follow felony stop procedures.
      In Castile’s mind, he knew he was not reaching for the gun. He was reaching for his license. He said as much. If Yanez. wanted him to stop moving, he should have said so. Yanez actions alone caused Castile’s death.
      It is a sad day when people have to fear cops because cops have psychological disorders such as paranoia and delusions. It is tough enough dealing with narcissist cops.
      If cops were trained to understand that as a group, concealed carry permit holders are more law abiding than police officers, maybe they would respond differently to
      “Officer, I have to tell you. I have a gun.”
      “Do you have a permit to carry ”
      ” I sure do.”
      “Thanks for telling me. Can I see your DL, reg and POI please ? ”
      And NO, in today’s day, being a marijuana user does not put one in the demographic of a criminally threatening person.

  2. One comnent that has to do with Castile. The press and most everyone else keeps saying he was a legal concealed carry permit holder, but was he? He was high on pot when he was arrested. His girlfriend admitted they habitually smoked pot. Now the BATF 4473 federal counter form when you buy a gun asks you if you are a unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana or and depressent, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. It also says the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of wether it has been legalized or decriminalized in your state for medical or recreational purposes. The MN concealed carry form asks Must not be the unlawful user of any controlled substance as defined in chapter 152 of the Minnesota Statutes.

    So if he lied on these forms no way could he be considered a legal concealed carry permit holder. He applied illegally. A moot point maybe now, but it does show he is not a legal concealed carry permit holder.

    1. As you state NOW 4473 says use but for a long time it only said ADDICTED to illegal drugs and the state form for CCW read the same thing. My question is are gun owners required to be reapproved as the worst run agency in the government changes its rules?

    2. Castile had 2 prior charges for possession but they were both dropped. If Minnesota has rules against marijuana users possessing firearms, they had plenty of time to deny Castile’s carry permit.
      In the trial, the defense was not able to show that Castile was under the influence of marijuana. Police departments across the country are struggling to understand when marijuana use causes problems for drivers.
      Yanez claimed that because he smelled burnt marijuana, Castile must not have any concern for the life of others which put Yanez life at risk. Yeah right. He made that thought process while asking for a DL and such in just 4 seconds.
      Read the transcript of Yanez’ interrogation.
      Yanez claims he was watching a C-store that had been robbed twice in the recent past, looking for anybody who looks like the suspects in the store video. I’d love to see stats as to how many robbery suspects return to the store they robbed or even rob a store in their own neighborhood.

  3. “The former Chicago police commissioner, actually said that having concealed carry legal in the city would result in permit holders being shot by his officers, because he was training them that, when a gun is present, they should basically shoot first and ask questions later.”

    THIS is a big problem – and illustrates the police state oppression that progressive democrats are working relentlessly, incrementally, to force on us nationwide.

    There are, and have been many oppressive regimes around the world and throughout history where this situation was commonplace. In the USA – with a citizenry having a constitutional right to KEEP AND BEAR ARMS – this is unacceptable.

    This is the EXACT mentality and course of training that has the potential to precipitate the the same outcome as we have seen with BLM chanting for retaliation through violence, resulting in the job of policing becoming a rolling target. Not good.

  4. Tweet from a Florida Shefiff”s Deputy. If I was his boss, we’d be having a talk. Reflects badly on the entire department.

    Casey Clouchete @CaseyClouchete
    @USATODAY keep marching. Guy was dumb. Cop is a hero #PlayStupidGamesWinStupidPrizes
    4:26 PM – 20 Jun 2017
    Retweets

  5. Even though my state has no duty to notify, I’ve had a few cops get pretty mad when I didn’t. Enough so, that against my better judgment, I began doing so. It always makes me nervous and now it will be worse. It troubles me that so many (seemingly all) in the law enforcement community appear to be absolutely unmoved by this. Willfully, some even gleefully, ignoring that an innocent man is dead. The same people who ask us to be understanding that cops won’t always achieve perfection, seem awfully unwilling to extend that same charity to Castile. A Florida Sheriff’s Deputy going so far as to call Yanez a hero. I’ll look for his tweet, but he’s probably removed it by now. I saw it last night. As Jeff said … plenty of mistakes made by both parties. But only one initiated the encounter and set in motion the bad tactics. Not my words, but those of former SWAT officer and Dallas police chief Brown. Among others.

    I found the enclosed link which (somewhat surprisingly) supported my memory of how hard the Minnesota cops fought against the shall-issue CCW reform signed by Ventura in 2003 I think. It’s hard for me not to wonder if an ingrained anti CCW bias within the Minnesota law enforcement community didn’t contribute substantially to Castile’s unfortunate death.

    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200103/08_mccalluml_guns/

  6. The most important fact that everyone should consider. Any State law that requires you to inform the officer that you are carrying a firearm (legally). He had the right to remain silent. But chose to breach that right, and got shot because of that. If the guy was just going for his wallet as claimed, the officer would not have been so nerves about a gun if the driver did not open his big mouth. So, Yes the officer was in fear for his life because of a state law disclosure. Think about that for a bit. So, the State now has liability for enacting a law that gets gun owners killed.

  7. What I see, and have unfortunately seen many times in the past, and virtually every time one of these types of shootings occur is where the “victim” is someone who is rightfully exercising their 2A rights to keep and bear, but is either ignorant of or fails to follow the oft recommended procedures one should follow in this kind of situation. Or, a “victim” that for whatever reason, fails to comply with the commands of the officer.

    Perhaps it’s my military experience, or how my parents brought me up, or reading related materials, or watching and digesting the news, but, regardless of how one *feels* about being stopped, whether it’s “right or wrong or just”, etc.,
    in that moment of time when you are face to face with a LEO of any ilk, for whatever reason they have for interacting with you personally, they own your butt until they decide to let you go.

    The drill on how a driver should behave in a traffic stop is no mystery, as advised by active and retired LEO’s, various CC pundits, taught in at least my CC class, and just plain common sense if you watch the news. Unfortunately, following said logical behaviors seems to be beyond many of the “victims”, or they are sadly ignorant of such things. Would be great if
    in the coverage of these shootings the news outlets would finish up with some boilerplate advice on how the shootee could likely have avoided the result. Just a few sentences of good advice repeated as often as the coverage might go a long way to avoiding further incidents. That would make for boring news though, so likely a no go. Fat chance of that happening?

    Perhaps the folks who got shot did what they did because they have “rights”, and were unable to fathom that their rights are subject to the rule-of- law. Rights also infer responsibility. In this case, of knowledge and actions. Rights are a wonderful thing, but, when stopped by a LEO there is a need to appreciate their side of the situation and play the “game”. One can be as right as rain, but if they end up getting shot because they didn’t follow the rules, they have not exactly won. Being a butt when interacting with a LEO is a zero-sum game. But then, this is just preaching to the choir, eh?
    W

    .

  8. This article is Spot-On Correct. This was a BAD SHOOT. As a CCW/FFL I’m constantly looking for ways to avoid even drawing my firearm because I know that I carry the ability to stand my ground and defend myself, and face the legal challenges that will surely follow. I would hate to have anybody that justifies this BAD SHOOT as a jury of my peers. There are plenty of ways this incident could have ended without resulting in a fatality at the hands of Law Enforcement. “If a citizen pulled the trigger with NO more CAUSE than Yanez articulated, prison time would be virtually guaranteed.” As a CCW holder, I don’t have the luxury of pulling the trigger when I THINK somebody is reaching for a gun – What if I’m wrong? If you don’t SEE the GUN and you can MOVE AWAY from the THREAT of bodily harm, you don’t have a RIGHTEOUS SHOOT, I don’t care who you are. Shoot First, and then ask Questions Later is a BAD SHOOT.

  9. Ok, I’m going to condense most of what has been said with the information from the case as I know it, into as easily understandable a statement as possible.

    Both men acted stupidly, but with reason. Castile should not have said “I have a gun” as he went for his wallet. Either wait until you have the wallet out, or keep both hands glued to the wheel. As a black man, he had been exposed to months of hearing and reading in the news that all cops are racist and out to kill him.

    Yanez, should have remained calm and gotten Castile out of the vehicle, under control, and removed the firearm before continuing. He was a young officer who had been hearing about police being targeted and murdered while on duty by politically agitated black men who were ginned up over news coverage of some Justifiable Lethal Force cases, in addition to hearing how traffic stops are one of the prime points in which an officer can be murdered historically.

    Both men messed up, and since the verdict came down, I have watched as people have lost their heads on both sides of the argument.

  10. The jury got it correctly, he wasn’t guilty of murder or manslaughter. He was stopping a car that had no brake lights and the driver fit the description of, as I recall, an armed robber.

    It would be better police procedure to get two or three cars and officers and taking the time before walking up to the car.

    A possible felony stop is only slightly more dangerous than an ordinary traffic stop. The armed robber or rapist knows they are a criminal and they are being stopped. The cop knows the car he is stopping has stolen license plates or the car matches the description of a car used two days prior in a bank robbery.

    Lots of things can go wrong… slow down and listen… move slowly. Speak quietly and don’t use “trigger” words such as GUN or KNIFE.

      1. Not carried while under the influence; not stated, “I have a gun”; and not go reaching for anything when not instructed, and stop when directed.

        However, the officer also did not handle the situation well, and although Castile contributed to the situation by the above, the officer over-reacted and shot him.

        I believe a private citizen would probably have been convicted of manslaughter in similar circumstances.

        Also as a firearms owner, one is not allowed to use marijuana, and one cannot legally obtain a CC license/permit if one is using pot or other controlled substances.

  11. In response to VT Patriotic. The officer who allowed him to handle a loaded firearm at a traffic stop must have been an untrained rookie or an idiot.

    1. Castile was not handling a loaded firearm. He was reaching for his wallet as instructed. Castile was not given enough time to sort out Yanez’s poor communication. But, the officer was poorly trained and an idiot.

    2. RC, I’m a little lost by your comment. When being stopped by a cop for a traffic infraction, I used the hands on the wheel, inform, and follow the officers instructions. No one ‘handled any weapons’, neither the officer nor I. The officer was grateful to me for informing ‘tho not a state req.’ He let me proceed without a summons or warning.

      The other case I was involved in was in calling the VT SP reporting 2 homes in my area that had been broken into. Met the officer in my driveway, and after a few minutes chatting about skiing and him showing me film clips of his daughter learning how to ski at the resort where I taught skiing, he then said “where are the homes”? At that point, I informed him I had a weapon. He answered ‘OK where is the first one’. After following me to the 2 homes, and doing his job, before getting in his car, he asked, “DO you mind if I ask what it is you are carrying”? At that pont I answered ‘Sure”, and revealed it. I asked if he’d like to see it, and he responded “Yes”. I then passed the gun, a SW 38 snubby to him and he was fascinated with how lite and small it was. He said, “Wow , my wife would love that”. We shook hands and parted company with the understanding that the next time he brought his daughter skiing, he’d look me up. Overall, I’d say it was an excellent, non-threatening encounter.

  12. What seems to be missed is that the question to the jury was not “was the shooting justified” it was “did the DA prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not justified”. The difference is small but important, it is the basis of “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” as the right of the accused.

    1. S Brown – you got it. And while both acted stupidly and the officer failed to control the situation, and there may be grounds for a civil case, or a case against the department (insufficient training or screening, etc.) the bottom line is there are TWO witnesses to this event. One is LEO, and the other is a drug user. The jury (most likely not up on good vs poor police training, nor educated as most CCW holders should be) was faced with a “he said/she said” and the cop was more credible.

      It doesn’t matter if the cop was wrong, or even not very credible. If he’s more credible than the girlfriend, then it will be very hard to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” – unless there was a glaring breach of protocol on the dashcam. The dashcam shows mistakes, but not crimes.

      1. The department is responsible for poor training (this was a botched felony stop) and assessment of personality (paranoid).
        The jury acquitted him because the jury instructions said that If the cop was fearful, whether that fear has a reasonable cause or not, he was justified. Minnesota law is at fault, too.
        Juries tend to believe cops and this jury was made up of people who trust cops’ word so when he cried about how fearful for his life he was, they gave him the benefit of the doubt. The judge allowed false testimony from Yanez. BUT, Judges rarely go against cops.

  13. This is the best commentary on this shooting I have seen. Thank you.

    A number of commenters stated that this was a “traffic stop” – it wasn’t. If you have the full video, you will hear the cop state that the driver looks like a robbery suspect they are looking for before he pulls the car over. He also states that the brake light being out gives him reasonable cause to pull the vehicle over.

    So the cop was not expecting to find someone with a broken tail-light – he was expecting to find an armed robbery suspect. He reacted accordingly. And wrongly.

  14. The actions of Philando Castille are what escalated a simple traffic stop into the deadly situation that occurred. He should NOT have informed the officer about his weapon as there was no need to do so. The video shows a panicked officer in fear for his life and who obviously forgot some of his training but I don’t think it was criminal. He probably should strongly consider a career change.
    The only other comment is that over the past fifty years that I have been driving whenever I have been stopped I’ve always had my license out and ready before the officer makes it to my vehicle because YOU KNOW THAT THEY WILL WANT TO SEE IT!!!

    1. John Mark McNair, I agree 100%. Also, when the trial ended, he was forced to resign.

      On the few occasions where I was involved in traffic stops, in my younger years, I, too, had always had my license, registration and insurance card at the ready, knowing I would be asked for them. As far that the officer’s reactions, yes, he handled the situation quite poorly, whether he should be criminally liable or not, I have a similar stance of this writer’s, that if a private citizen would suffer civil and criminal liability for the same actions, then, yes, the officer should, too. I strongly believe that a private citizen would be convicted of at least manslaughter in these same instances.

      The mistakes of the gun owner, though, were paramount to his being shot and killed. It was also reported that he was under the influence of drugs at the time, which makes carrying illegal. Also using marijuana is a disqualification on the form 4473.

      One never – *ever* – tells anyone, especially an officer during a traffic stop, “I have a gun”. In my training for CC, and everything I have read thereafter and previously, you may tell the officer you have a concealed carry license/permit, and then wait for the officer to ask if you are carrying and how he wants to handle the situation. I also have frequently read to keep your hands palms-up on the dashboard or steering wheel and not to move until instructed. And to also state that you are doing what the officer requests.

      1. You are obviously unfamiliar with the law concerning the carrying of concealed firearms in the State of Oklahoma. We are required to inform the Officer of our having a firearm right off the bat.

        1. Roy D., I was not commenting on Oklahoma, and I bet even in Oklahoma, you don’t just tell the officer “I have a gun”, but that you are a CC holder and you are armed. The first is just inflammatory and I would expect an officer to get on edge if you tell him/her you are armed without the qualifier that it is legal.

          You seem to really have a bug up your -ss over my posts.

    2. Cops are trained to be paranoid. They are drilled in the Tueller Drill that makes this even worse. Ex Military have similar training that they bring to the job as a cop along with PTSD. Studies show that as much as 50% of cops develop paranoid issues by 10 years on the job but departments do not assess these issues and retire these cops. This decision likely has financial reasons. Retiring paranoid cops requires disability payments.
      LEAVING THESE COPS ON THE STREET IS DANGEROUS FOR THE PUBLIC.
      The NRA, Knox and others should be screaming bloody murder. Firearms ownership and carry is all about responsibility and training. Cops keep getting a break when they screw up SO NOTHING CHANGES.
      What would they say if a CCW said he WAS FEARING FOR HIS LIFE so he drew his weapon and killed a confrontational person ?

    3. From what I gleaned from another blog. They withheld some of the video from the encounter. When the driver was pulled from the vehicle, his pistol fell from his pocket onto the pavement. It was also found to have a loaded mag but an empty chamber. This is my preferred method when I carry a 1911. The blog also stated that the officer had been fired. As he should have been.

      1. Hippybiker, yes, after the trial, the officer was forced to resign. As far as carrying empty chamber, a 1911 is no more unsafe than any other firearm when properly carried. If you don’t feel comfortable, you need more training. I recently shot a 1911 in .45 cal and it changed my mind about all the safeties on it, because it was so fun to shoot. I am now considering getting one. What style/maker do you believe is better?

        My carry firearm is a Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact in 9mm. It is a DA/SA with no safeties, though it does have a decocker. It came with two 13-round magazines. It is my most favorite handgun to date.

        1. So now “Heed” you are the “how you carry” hall monitor? Perhaps you should carry your firearm how you want to and let everyone else do the same with theirs.

          1. Roy D, no I do not monitor how other’s carry, unless I see it, like when I walked past an officer directing traffic several months ago and noticed that his retention strap was unfastened. I didn’t mention it to him, but I made it a point to move away as quickly as possible.

            I have read many articles on issue of chambered vs. unchambered and all the trainers and “experts” all state that unchambered is not a good way to carry for numerous reasons, and that if one is uncomfortable with that, one needs to learn proper handling and become comfortable with it. One big reason is that one might not have the second hand available to rack and load a round when needed. Yes, one can rack and load one-handed, but that is much more difficult and time-consuming, which if you have a reason to draw your weapon, you might not have the time to load it.

  15. I am in total support of police officers and am well aware of the pressure that they are under in this present climate of law nesses . That being said , the actions of this officer were woefully unprofessional and he is guilty of manslaughter .

  16. Oregon does not require you to inform an officer when stopped and so far so good …. no one has been killed for making a statement about a gun ………… hmmmm !………… And we have LOTS OF GUNS in Oregon ….. Concealed !
    This was an “Police Officer” who should have stayed at his old job at Walmart…. and greater is not a good job for him.

  17. The problem is….we will never know whether Castile was reaching for his gun. It seems unlikely, and one thing you can see from the video is that Yanez was visibly excited.

  18. I was not privilege to all the evidence only the video and transcripts . What I saw was a scared policeman who over reacted. The victim was complying wit the leo the leo should be convicted of at least manslaughter.the victim was doing everything we as ccw carrier is suppose to do.

    1. Bernard, actually, no he wasn’t. One he was high on drugs and carrying – illegal; and two, as a concealed carry holder, one does *not* state, “I have a gun”. There is no legal requirement for that. He could have stated, “I am a concealed carry holder”, and let the officer decide what to do. I believe the mistakes of the gun owner were primary in his death. If the officer was unaware of his having a firearm, he’d not have been shot.

      I do, also, believe that if the officer were a private citizen, in the same situation, that citizen would most likely have been convicted of manslaughter. Police should face the same civil and criminal actions that a private citizen would face in similar circumstances. I still believe in the facade of egalitarianism on which our country was founded.

      1. If Castile had not identified that he was carrying, if he exposed his weapon, the cop would have be more surprised. Many identify so the cop does not get such a surprise. Castile did nothing wrong except if he had some drugs in his system. But, that did not contribute to the cop’s outrageous behavior.
        The cop did not even approach the driver from a safe angle. He exposed himself even though the claim was he stopped Castile when he suspected him of being a robbery suspect. That would normally be a felony stop with extreme precautions taken.
        It appears he was doing a felony stop in his mind but not taking the safety precautions. This put Castile at great risk that ended with him losing his life.
        Castile only had 5 seconds to respond to a trigger happy cop. How did he contribute ? Announcing ‘carry’ was a reasonable action.
        Heed expects the CCW to have better training than the cop. He did the best he could. The cop was totally responsible for his outrageous behavior.

        1. Idadho, it is always amusing to read your ignorant posts. *If* he exposed his weapon? When one is CC, one does *not* expose one’s weapon. Where the officer was stationed when the incident occurred is irrelevant. The officer would not have reacted if he didn’t know the man had a weapon.

          How did he contribute? He told the officer he had a firearm. As as CC holder, one is instructed that is something you never disclose, unless asked by an officer, unless you are in a state where you must disclose to an officer, which he wasn’t.

          It’s amusing that you believe not disclosing you have a firearm requires more training than a LEO receives, since it is part of one’s CC class to obtain a CC license/permit.

          You have always advocated that firearm owners are well trained and knowledgeable, but in this case you are advocating for the one that was most responsible for his own death. Obviously if the officer was unaware of his having a firearm and heeded (no pun intended) the officers commands, he’d (no pun intended) be alive today.

          Yes, being under the influence of drugs is illegal while carrying. And as I stated, using marijuana makes possession of a firearm illegal. So, even though he may have had a CC license/permit, he was still breaking the law. You previously always expected exemplary behavior from firearm owners; so what has changed?

          My post did not exempt the officer’s actions, and I even stated that he probably would have been convicted of at least manslaughter if he was a private citizen. I even stated that I still believe that we are supposed to be an egalitarian society. Nice playing with you.

        2. As I stated in my original post Yanez was definitely part of the problem and I agree he probably should have been found guilty of manslaughter. My question is was manslaughter made available to the jury?

          1. Yes, manslaughter was the charge he was acquitted of. The Minnesota law gives the cop the benefit of the doubt about ANY feelings of fear. Juries are prone to believing anything a cop says. Yanez made many statements, including at first saying he did not know where the gun was to a final statement that Castile had the gun in his hands. But, the gun had an empty chamber.
            Castile had been stopped at least 52 times in 15 years. He knew how to respond to a stop.
            Yanez claimed if Castile had smoked near the child, he was a risk to everybody. Yeah right. Yanez made that thought process in the few seconds.
            Yanez is a paranoid pussy who should have never put on the badge or at least, he should have surrendered his badge and gun when he started to be afraid of his shadow.

      2. For your information “Heed”, in my state we do have a requirement to inform that we have a firearm when in contact with the police in an official capacity. I love these Monday morning quarterbacks that haven’t been there or done that. You all need to go sit down and wait until you’re called on.

        1. Fifty States. Some require that you inform an officer that stops you if you’re carrying. My advice, don’t say the word GUN. I have approached many policemen and women while armed and started a conversation about various topics. Sometimes about a news report, sometimes about firearms or flashlights. They didn’t ask and I didn’t tell. In Kansas even if you’re stopped you aren’t required to tell unless asked, the famous COPS TV line, “Are you carrying guns, knives, hand grenades or nuclear weapons?”

          My plan is to answer with “I AM LICENSED TO CARRY and my license is in my wallet next to my holster. What would you like me to do?”
          Know your laws and develop a habitual script to follow that meet the requirements of law and does not alarm the cops with the word GUN.

          Lots of people with a CCW/CCH don’t really know the laws completely. The nurse who crossed from PA to NJ and was stopped for a taillight followed PA law and immediately informed the cop in NJ. Since her CCW instructor failed to instruct her on the intestate laws she was just lucky that Gov. Christie issued her a pardon. [BTW, since she was not Mirandized before her admission he arrest and conviction were illegal.]
          You’ve got to know the laws where you go, not all carry instructors teach that and some students don’t pay attention.

          1. She spent a month in jail. Christie did not pardon her until after months of court and trouble.
            Miranda had nothing to do with her arrest. She volunteered that she had a gun. She admitted to a crime before the officer even suspected her of a crime.
            I hope you double check the information you have been taught about CCW. You don’t appear to grasp the facts very well.

          2. I did not print the complete time line. I did not mention her children that were left with others, I did not mention that teh local DA was an A-whole of the first order. I did mention that she complied with PA law and told the cop at the first opportunity that she had a gun. The cop then searched the car illegally because she had not been Mirandized, that made the gun and her disclosure “the fruit of a poisoned tree” and non of the evidence should have been admitted at a trial. It did take Christie months to pardon her.
            I did not mention whether or not her pardon fully restores her civil rights, including teh right to keep and bear arms, since she was convicted of felony bearing arms.
            I know a lot about gun laws in all 50 states since I’ve been studying firearms laws for almost 60 years. I’ve had some input that has been referenced by the SCOUS.
            Perhaps you should re-read my original post.

            She admitted to a crime before the officer even suspected her of a crime.” That is what Miranda is all about.

          3. Jim, There was no responsibility to Mirandize her before searching her car. Once she admitted to possessing the firearm, she was suspected of a crime. That gives cops a right to search her car. No Miranda required. Her statement about possessing the gun was voluntary when she was just stopped for a traffic violation. The cops, DA and even State Attorney General were all overbearing. And Christie was very slow to resolve the situation. Shame on him.

          4. The arrest was made after the search, But she was not given the required warning.
            The PA instructor was lax, she was lax.
            She should not have entered NJ. She should have made sure that ALL lights worked.
            Ignorance of the law takes actively being dumb. The laws of any state are on the State’s official web site and on NRA-ILA and a dozen other sites.

          5. Jim, You appear to be clueless about Miranda. It has nothing to do with searching her vehicle. She volunteered that she had a firearm. There is no responsibility to Mirandize before asking a question or before letting somebody speak. Miranda only protects people from their self-incrimination being used in court IF they are questioned when they are already suspected of a crime. She was only suspected of an ‘unsafe lane change.’ Classic profiling justification for a stop.
            The cop started grilling her. Where are you going ? Where are you coming from ? and such BS. She could have said nothing and just handed over her DL, Reg and POI and been seen as uncooperative. BUT, as she started to reach into her purse, she realized her gun was in her purse and stopped and informed the state cop. He grabbed her purse away.
            Her mistake was having her gun and DL in the same location. I doubt any CC course discusses that. PA does not even require a CC course to get a permit.
            btw, It was a year and a half before Christie pulled his donuts out of his butt and pardoned her. He could have stopped the prosecution at any time.

        2. Roy, I stated that in his state, it was not required. That has nothing to do with “Monday Morning Quarterbacks”, but knowing the laws of the state in which one is carrying, which as a CC holder one had better know or end up as he did or in prison.

          1. “Heed”, I think you should read your comment to which I was referring. Nowhere in your comment do state that you were referring to the laws in his state.

          2. Roy, I stated that in an earlier post in this comment area, […] unless you are in a state where you must disclose to an officer, which he wasn’t.” There weren’t many posts when I replied, and there are only 35 posts now. I did really need to restate it? I’m sorry that confused you.

      3. It is not uncommon for someone to ‘print’ as they move around, as in reaching in the glove box for registration.
        Plus, many states require telling a cop. Others have a ‘when asked’ requirement. I have had a CCW for 15 years and training says if you tell the cops, to tell the cops in a calm manner.
        Not every CC class teaches ‘Do not report.’ One online site that discusses carry issues and includes a cops’ perspective says to announce to gain the cops’ trust. Missouri is an ‘If asked’. but many cops get upset if you do not announce.
        Many cops do not like to see a CCW with your DL, insurance and reg and get very upset. It is quite common for a CCW to be seen as a DL is being pulled from a wallet. The cops need to be trained for these situations.
        The trial was not able to show that Castile was high or under the influence. There was just a smell. A smell can last a long time. But, whether he was in violation of CCW permit regs does not justify Yanez outrageous paranoia. But, most CCW rules mean NO alcohol or any intoxicant on board when CCW.
        You are confusing me with somebody else. I advocate proper firearms handling but have not posted such.
        But, I know more about cop behaviors and psychological issues. Cops are paranoid because they are taught the Teuller Drill and the lie that their job is dangerous and not assessed psychologically as they need to be.
        Have you ever had cops draw their weapons against you. I have. I have been SWATted 3 times, even when the CP/RP was obviously making a false report. They explain that every contact is a serious threat until they PROVE it isn’t, even in a lilly white, no crime town while doing a knock and talk.
        If Yanez was a private citizen, he’d be doing 20 years.
        Cops have far more training and experience in making contacts than private citizens have with being contacted. Minnesota Statutes, section 624.714, subd. 2a requires permit to carry applicants to present evidence of having received from a certified instructor training in the safe use of a handgun within one year of an original application or renewal. There is no requirement for a CC class. A firearms safety class is enough. There is no difference between concealed and open carry in Minnesota. It is just a permit to carry and purchase good for 5 years.
        If Yanez did a proper felony stop, he would have been in a safe position and ordered Castile to exit his car and lay on the ground.

    2. I didn’t see a “scared policeman.” I saw an Officer who thought he might be dealing with a suspected criminal and he was “concerned” about what the suspected criminal was doing.
      I stopped a car containing two men one time and they looked all the world like they were Hells Angels founding members. I was calm as could be. Number one, I am pretty good with a gun and, unknown to the two men in the car,
      I knew that there was a M-16 pointed at them from 65 yards away and a Colt 9mm subgun pointed at them from 50 yards away. Turned out they were DEA agents but the way they talked you would have never known it. I guess they did some undercover every now and then. After they were identified they were sent where they needed to go and everyone was happy. Of course they were White so there was that.

  19. It is difficult for anyone who has not been in law enforcement or involved in a life threatening situation to know or even imagine what happens. There is so little time to react to someone pulling a gun, even when you have your gun in your hand that often, the one pulling the gun can shoot first, or at least hit first (Yanez was only hit twice out of seven shots at arms’ length by a trained shooter). There is also something known as “tunnel vision” which occurs in which nothing but the subject, gun, threat, is viewed and focused upon to the exclusion of everything else. The child in the back seat, the girlfriend, etc., were not in Officer Yanez’ field of vision at the time, only the perceived threat. This is not a justification of Yanez’ actions, he definitely screwed up, big time, and because of it a person died. The officer should not be back on the street, and perhaps he should be dismissed or better yet, do the honorable thing and resign on his own, but he didn’t and doesn’t deserve jail time.

  20. “If a citizen were to shoot under these circumstances prison time would be virtually guaranteed. ” Maybe….. but that’s the difference between police and citizens, police are paid to handle criminal activity. Whether you like it or not that’s how things have to be and citizens are not on par with the job that the police are tasked with.

  21. Should also note that he was not carrying legally in MN, Permit or Not:

    MN Statue 624.713 CERTAIN PERSONS NOT TO POSSESS FIREARMS.
    (10) a person who:(iii) is an unlawful user of any controlled substance as defined in chapter 152;

    1. Same applies in Federal law.
      18 U.S. Code § 922 – Unlawful acts
      (a) It shall be unlawful—
      (1) for any person—
      (g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
      (1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
      (2) who is a fugitive from justice;
      (3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
      (4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;
      (5) who, being an alien—
      (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
      (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));
      (6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
      (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
      (8) who is subject to a court order that—
      (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
      (B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
      (C)
      (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
      (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
      (9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,
      to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce

      1. BUT, Castile’s use or past use of marijuana had NO BEARING on Janez justification for shooting Castile. Those are after the fact discoveries. In the trial, they were unable to show any evidence that Castile was impaired. He stopped when required. He was communicative.
        Janez could have searched his car and tried to arrest him for possession or driving while impaired or carrying while impaired but instead, he was judge, jury and executioner, not because of Castile’s guilt, but because Yanez had his diapers in a bunch and was ‘fearful’ Just a pussy cop who got away with murder. I bet Yanez had gone over this scenario in his head many times, only reinforcing his paranoia. That is pre-meditation.
        This broken tail light or license plate light or failure to signal or dirty/obstructed license plate as a justification to stop and harass has to stop.

  22. Interesting double standard I hear repeated predictably by far too many on “our” side of this debate. Ignore the many mistakes made by Yanez, someone assumedly trained to a high standard, but put a laser focus on a citizen trying to follow conflicting commands from a jumpy cop. Yanez approached Castile’s car with all the fear and adrenaline of a felony stop, but NONE of the safeguards which usually accompany that procedure. No less than Chief David Brown, a former Dallas SWAT officer said as much. By standing forward of the window post, he was vulnerable to being knocked down by the driver door and shot by anyone REALLY wishing to harm him. In 45 years of driving, I’ve ONLY had cops remain far to the rear of my left shoulder. And even then, I’ve often felt only one unannounced sneeze away from oblivion.

    On a separate matter, I wonder if the cops have yet petitioned the NRA to fire Colion Noir for writing an impassioned narrative about his own experience with cops as a black kid, and his conflict about the verdict.

  23. One of the first things they teach you in class is how to deal with cops when pulled over. You are supposed to
    put your hands on the steering wheel, and leave them there, then politely inform the officer that you are carrying a weapon and that you have a permit. You then wait for directions from the officer as to how you proceed.
    WHAT YOU ARE NOT TO DO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IS TO REACH FOR YOUR GUN OR YOUR LICENSE!

    1. So right. One thing these police-civilian shootings all seem to have in common is that the civilian never stops in their tracks and awaits instructions from the officer. They aren’t demonstrating that they believe the officer has the authority (at least temporarily) in the encounter. The person stopped never lets the cop get to the point where they feel like they have the situation in hand but, rather, presents a constantly shifting scenario that evidently taxes the training/experience of some officers beyond their limit to cope. Just go limp and await further instructions like a robot. Basic “Yes, sir, no sir” communication and listen carefully so you can do exactly what you are told and no more. Remember that and your chances of leaving the stop in good health are greatly improved. If children were being raised to respect authority instead of automatically challenging it these situations would be much more rare.

      1. I agree that the officer acted perhaps impetuously. But, i also agree that the driver acted very poorly. I’ve been pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, and have done as I was trained to do. While stopping, I lowered the driver window, put my hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock and greeted the officer. When he asked for license and reg, I looked at him, said “officer I have a handgun on my right hip, how would you like me to proceed?”. After a short conversation on my ‘offence’, The officer asked my permission to open the door, and to get out of the car. The weapon was exposed, and the problem was dissipated. After a moments conversation, he asked me what I was carrying. I told him “a S&W snubby 38”. He asked me if he could see it, to which I replied “Certainly”. He examined it and stated, “Wow, my wife would love this.” Handed it back, and thanked ME for informing and letting him check it out. We parted friends, and no summons issued.

    2. I don’t get stopped often because I try to drive by the book. I always contribute to the Sheriff’s Association, and put their stickers on by vehicles where they can be seen. I have only been stopped three times in my entire driving career, and only been stopped once since PCS’ing to Texas. I pull the car over to the side as far as possible so the deputy has room between the roadway and his work area. I roll down all the windows so that he can see that there is no one hiding in the car, as a courtesy, for his approach. I quickly put my wallet on the dash. I put both hands on the wheel and spread my fingers. And finally, I greet the officer a colleague, and await his instructions. If you don’t get an officer that is a cool head, you best be twice as cool to make up for him. Tell him that you are recovering from hernia surgery or something.

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