Philando Castile's mother reaches $3m settlement over son's shooting death
Castile was killed last July during a traffic stop by a St Anthony, Minnesota, police officer who was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges this month
Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, points to the sky during a news conference on 16 June 2017. Photograph: Evan Frost/AP
Monday 26 June 2017 09.53 EDT Last modified on Monday 26 June 2017 11.29 EDT
The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist who was killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3m settlement in his death.
The settlement was announced on Monday by attorneys for Valerie Castile and the city of St Anthony.
The settlement avoids the drawn-out process of a federal wrongful death lawsuit stemming from Philando Castile’s death.
The 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was killed by the St Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a 6 July 2016 traffic stop after Castile said he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun.
The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend livestreamed its aftermath on Facebook.
Yanez, who is Latino, was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges earlier this month. The jury’s decision prompted days of protests that continued this weekend, with marchers interrupting the Pride gay rights event in Minneapolis. One demonstration, in St Paul, shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.
The $2.995m settlement will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St Anthony. It requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks. The statement from the city and Castile’s attorneys said no taxpayer money would be used to fund the settlement.
Robert Bennett, who along with the attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said the idea behind the settlement was to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds”.
The settlement would also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.
“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” the joint statement said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.”
A statement on a Facebook page for the nonprofit foundation said it was established to help victims of gun violence and to provide relief for the grieving.
During his trial, Yanez, 29, testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out his gun. The officer said he feared for his life. According to squad-car video that captured the shooting, Castile said: “I’m not pulling it out” before Yanez fired seven rapid shots. Castile’s last words after the shooting were “I wasn’t reaching ...”
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, later said Castile had been reaching for his wallet.
The squad-car video shows the shooting, but does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw, leaving room for reasonable doubt.
After Yanez’s acquittal, the city of St Anthony said it was offering Yanez a “voluntary separation agreement” from the police department, and he would no longer be an on-duty officer. The department serves the cities of St Anthony, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights, where the shooting occurred.