Minnesota officer says motorist had hand on gun when shot

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The Minnesota officer facing manslaughter charges for fatally shooting a black man during a traffic stop previous year took the stand on Friday and gave emotional testimony saying "he had no choice" when he pulled his gun.

At some point, he read a portion of one of Yanez's statement to BCA agents when the officer said he was "getting nervous" during the traffic stop because Castile continued to move his hand and asked Kapelsohn to respond.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Philando Castile five times barely a minute after he approached the auto and Castile informed him he was carrying a gun.

"I thought I was going to die", Yanez said, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. Prosecutors argue that he didn't see it and that he acted unreasonably in shooting Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker who had a permit to carry the gun. Witnesses have testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle. He said that was significant because it would have meant Castile had the gun all the way out of his pocket when he was shot.

"I was immediately hit with the odor of burnt marijuana", Yanez said, describing the scene when he walked up to the auto.

Other witnesses testified about where Castile's gun was found after he was removed from the auto, either hanging from a pocket, falling out of a pocket and hitting the ground or deep in a pocket.

Yanez shot Castile five times barely a minute after he approached the vehicle and Castile informed the officer that he was carrying a handgun.

The shooting in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop, like similar incidents across the United States, fueled public debate about appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

"So are you saying that when Officer Yanez said, 'I don't know where the gun was, ' he really did know where the gun was?" "That wasn't my intention", Yanez said while wiping tears from his eyes, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

The prosecutor mentioned in court it wasn't until 15 minutes after the shooting that the gun was found by crews working to render aid to Castile.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Monday.

Yanez said he followed Castile for two miles before he pulled Castile over in a fully marked squad auto.

"It is my opinion Officer Yanez used reasonable force", Kapelsohn said.

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A Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist says he saw a gun before firing.

State prosecuting attorney Jeffrey Paulsen cross-examined the Kapelsohn at length, suggesting he has a reputation for being pro-cop and using "creative" strategies in their defense.

Yanez's voice broke while describing how the exchange quickly escalated after he told Castile not to reach for a weapon. Kapelsohn disagreed, saying the central question to him was whether Yanez "reasonably believed that Castile was pulling out a firearm".

"When Roseville police officers arrived you never warned them there was a gun did you?" He rejected prosecutor Jeff Paulsen's assertion Friday that the central question in the case is whether Yanez saw Castile's gun. Yanez has been charged with manslaughter.

Kapelsohn said three-eighths of inch of the butt of the gun was left below the lip of the pocket.

Peregrine Corporation is a firearms and use of force training consulting firm that Kapelsohn formed in 1980. "It's what officers across the country are trained to do in situations like this", Kapelsohn said.

"It was when (Castile) did reach... and apparently pulled (a gun) out, that this happened", Kaphelson said.

Defense attorneys argue that Castile was stoned at the time of the traffic stop and it influenced his response to the officer.

Earlier this week, Reynolds testified that she felt she had to record the encounter with Yanez out of fear for her own life.

Yanez, who is Latino, was expected to take the stand later Friday.

Former police officer and police use-of-force expert Joseph Dutton shared his beliefs on the shooting with the jury hearing the manslaughter trial in Ramsey County District Court.

Defense attorney Earl Gray says they have several witnesses to call Friday before calling Yanez either Friday afternoon or Monday.

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