Turning the Bow of the Boat of Justice: Philando Castile Killer Cop Charged

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Powerfully recreating real deaths and protests in a take on the popular Mannequin Challenge. Screenshot.

The St. Anthony cop who shot and killed Philando Castile, 32, as he quietly sat in his car last July has been charged with three criminal counts, including manslaughter - the first officer to be charged in over 150 police-involved deaths in Minnesota since 2000. Jeronimo Yanez faces second-degree manslaughter and two felony charges of dangerous discharge of a firearm after shooting Castile seven times during a traffic stop for a busted tail light. Yanez had said Castile fit the description of a robbery suspect because he had "a wide-set nose."

The bloody encounter was famously filmed by Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds - Castile calmly telling Yanez he had a legal gun, the panicked Yanez screaming "Don't pull it out," Castile's final, mumbled words, "I wasn't reaching for it." At a press conference, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said all evidence showed, "No reasonable officer knowing, seeing, and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances." Until Wednesday, the only person to be charged in connection with the death was Castile's cousin, who in court last week pleaded innocent to lingering charges from the widespread protests that followed.

The news comes as a chilling Black Lives Matter-themed Mannequin Challenge video, which has gone viral, highlights the ongoing decimation of black bodies in recent years, from Trayvon Martin to Sandra Bland to Castile. The short film - which opens with Reynolds' saying, "Oh my God, please don't tell me he's dead" - recreates several of those killings, using real-life police dispatch from the scene, the mournful sound of a beating heart, and words from Malcolm X's 1964 Afro-American unity speech vowing to achieve freedom and equality "by any means necessary."

Director Simone Shepherd made the mannequin video in conjunction with the upcoming film “Black in Blue” about a black police officer. She says she chose the powerful scenes and real police audio "to try to get people to remember...  There's a new president, but there are also these issues that have been going on forever."


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Reynolds at a rally protesting the death of Castile.

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