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Yanez Attorney: 'He Thought This Guy Was Going To Kill Him'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Less than a week after the not guilty verdict, we got a look at key evidence in the trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Police dashcam video is rolling for the entire traffic stop and captures the moments Yanez fired his gun seven times at Philando Castile. We do want to warn you this video may be disturbing and hard to watch for some.

Until this point, we had only seen the aftermath of the shooting as Diamond Reynolds began to live-stream on Facebook. Yanez testified he saw Castile's right arm drop down at his side before he fired seven shots, five of them striking and ultimately killing Castile.

WCCO's Mary McGuire got reaction from attorneys for both parties after the evidence was released.

The memorial in Falcon Heights where the shooting took place is a physical reminder of what happened that night last July. But now we have another reminder, police dashcam video of the deadly traffic stop.

Castile's death made national headlines in part because of the Facebook live video posted by Reynolds. But now, the nation's attention has turned to newly-released dashcam footage, showing every moment of the deadly encounter.

Yanez asks Castile for his license and insurance and after he hands it over, Castile makes a revelation.

"Sir I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me," Castile tells Officer Yanez.

"OK, then don't reach for it," Yanez tells Castile.

Seconds later, Yanez testified Castile's right arm dropped down at his side. Yanez reaches in with his left arm and draws his weapon.

Yanez repeatedly tells Castile "don't pull it out," and then gunfire follows.

The video is graphic, gut-wrenching and hard to watch but attorneys who represented Yanez during the trial say it shouldn't change people's opinions of the verdict.

"You'll notice that after the shooting, he was terribly traumatized. He thought this guy was going to kill him. That's something unless you have experienced is very scary," Earl Gray said.

Defense attorney Early Gray maintains Yanez followed protocol and shot his weapon because he feared for his life.

"When he saw Philando Castile go for the gun, grabbing it out of his pocket, he thought he was going to be killed," Gray said.

An attorney for the Castile family disputes that, saying Yanez acted recklessly.

"I think that it really is, it shows that Yanez actually panicked. This is a man who was trying to comply. He was doing exactly what the officer asked him to do. He produced his insurance. He was reaching for his driver's license. Yanez had the advantage. He has the gun out," Judge Glenda Hatchett said.

After the verdict, the St. Anthony Police Department announced Yanez would be let go from the department.  The Castile family does plan on filing a civil lawsuit for Castile's death.

Along with the dashcam video, pages of documents, evidence photos, e-mails and a recording of an interview Yanez did with the BCA the day after the shooting was released on Wednesday.

Another interesting thing piece we found was an e-mail detailing that an officer with the Ferguson Police Department, where Michael Brown was shot in Missouri, called St. Anthony police to offer help the day after the shooting.


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