Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, will receive a $3 million settlement from the city of St. Anthony, Minnesota, according to an announcement made jointly by attorneys for both she and the city.

The settlement agreement will mean that the city will avoid an even costlier wrongful death lawsuit in federal court for the shooting of Castile’s son by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016. Yanez claimed that the 32-year-old cafeteria worker resembled an armed robbery suspect and was reaching for a handgun.

Castile did have a gun on his person, however, he was licensed by the state of Minnesota to carry a firearm (which he apparently declared to the officer,) and his girlfriend (who live-streamed the aftermath on social media) said that he was reaching for his wallet. A jury acquitted Yanez on June 16 of second degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm, both felonies, but the officer is being cashiered anyway because city leaders felt that “the public [would] be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city.”

Castile and her attorney, Glenda Hatchett, had announced plans to file a lawsuit against the city at a rally in Minneapolis shortly after her son’s death. Although the settlement will require court approval, it appears to have put paid to that plan.

Bruce Krafft offered commentary about Yanez’s acquittal here and here. The reaction to the verdict from NRA commentator Colion Noir can be seen here. Sara Tipton brought a cop’s perspective to the case here. And, last year, when charges were filed against Yanez, I vainly hoped that the prosecution had more evidence up its sleeve than others had in past politically-charged cases.

55 Responses to Philando Castile Wrongful Death Suit Settled for $3 million

    • Yes, it does. Read Thomas’ dissent (which I am pleased to see was joined by Gorsuch).

      SCOTUS just trampled the second amendment-protected rights of every person living under the tyranny of the Ninth Circus, by denying cert.

        • I’ve learned that lawyer logic and engineer logic are too far removed. I am wired for the latter, which seemingly excludes me from the former.

        • Have you considered doing both?

          Business and patent law made a little more sense in the engineering arena.

        • A lot of engineers have a hard time with law school … also social interactions.

        • I think I could handle law school. But while the law interests me (and I try to keep abreast of legal decisions that can impact me), I don’t see much of a return on investment for pursuing it.

        • From the way you have analysed legal issues here, I think you would do fine in law school as well.

          Unless you want to practice law, I don’t really see the point of law school.

    • This low income man/family would have never earned $3M in a lifetime, and he’d be alive if he wasn’t high and fatally stupid. Another ghetto payday paid for by the rest of us hard working, LAW ABIDING, citizens. And, they wonder why they’re not liked or wanted.

      • By no account have I heard of anything about this man that suggested he was a gang member, criminal, etc., nor did anything he did warrant an execution. I can’t say whether or not the police officer involved had good reason to believe his life was in danger, but we do know that it is really unlikely that Castile actually had any intention to harm the officers.

        • “By no account have I heard of anything about this man that suggested he was a gang member, criminal, etc., nor did anything he did warrant an execution.”

          He was a criminal. He was a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. That’s a felony. Whether or not it should have been is another conversation. If you “can’t say whether or not the police officer involved had good reason to believe his life was in danger,” you can’t fairly call it an execution. An execution would be if the cop decided to kill the guy for behavior the cop decided merited death. If the cop shot him because the cop believed he was in danger, that is self defense (taking the offense from murder to manslaughter if his belief was unreasonable).

          The question is whether the officer acted reasonably or with criminal negligence in the situation with a fuzzy grey line in between. I think this case is firmly in the grey line.

        • Castile was a ‘criminal’? He was a ‘prohibited person’? By what measure?

          He had a permit to carry, issued June 4, 2015. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/philando-castiles-family-reveals-his-gun-permit/)

          Castile was not a suspect in the armed robbery, nor was there a warrant for his arrest, so he was not a criminal in possession. If he had lived, he may have become a suspect, and I’m still not sure if those robbers were ever caught, but at the time of the shooting, Castile was still legal-to-possess.

          Castile had THC in his system (which can linger without effect), but there’s no specific evidence of him being under the influence at that moment, beyond the hours-later (and somewhat non-factual) statements made by the man who shot him.

          Of the three main ways he could be considered a criminal or a prohibited person, the closest I can find is the drug angle. Minnesota law prohibits carry while under the influence of marijuana, but there is no evidence to support a right-denying claim of Castile being under the influence. As noted above, merely having THC in your blood does not inform any level of influence, and since the officer did not perform any sort of test before the shooting, nor did he make any sort of reference to marijuana until 15 hours after the shooting, it’s a stretch to say the officer considered Castile a prohibited person, much less a criminal.

        • “Castile had THC in his system.” “(g) It shall be unlawful for any person … (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)).”

          Was Castile a lawful user of mj? Has the federal prohibition on mj been removed? Minnesota law doesn’t matter.

        • Castile is not a felon until he has a felony conviction in a court of law. Do you have a link to the case that earned him that felony? I can’t seem to find one.

          Officer Yanez is charged with enforcing munipical law that is often cribbed straight out of the state code. If Castile had lived long enough to be charged by the DEA for violating the federal law you reference, he might have become a prohibited person.

          But, since he was not a convicted felon at the time of the stop, and he was not independently found to be under the influence, calling him a felon, criminal, or prohibited person is inaccurate.

        • You don’t have to be convicted of using marijuana to be a prohibited person. You don’t have to be convicted of a felony to have committed a felony. You don’t have to be convicted of a criminal offense to be a criminal. You just have to commit criminal acts.

          The statement “Castile was a criminal” is a factually correct statement. The facts that make him a criminal are known to you. 1. He possessed a firearm. 2. He was a user of marijuana. The law is known to you because I gave you the specific subsection. Here is the citation if you don’t believe me: 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3).

          Castile could have been charged by a federal prosecutor. The likely agency to pursue the weapons charge to which I referred would be the ATF, but any law enforcement agency could have arrested him and turned the case over to the local federal prosecutor’s office.

          Calling him a felon, criminal, or prohibited person are all factually correct. It might not be fair, and it isn’t relevant to the case. It has however relevant to the repeated statements in various places by various people along the lines of “he wasn’t a criminal” or “he was a lawful carrier.” Those statements are not true. If one knows those statements are not true yet continues to insist they are, one is a liar. If one knows the facts and law and insists those statements are true, one does not understand the law and how to apply the law to the facts. I’m assuming just about everyone can understand the two facts at issue.

        • So, as a lawyer, is it your legal opinion that Castile was a felon, despite the fact that he had not been suspected of a committing a felony, had not been charged with committing a felony, had not been indicted for committing a felony, had not been arraigned for committing a felony, had not pled guilty to committing a felony, had not been found guilty of committing a felony, had not received any punishment for committing a felony, and had no record of committing a felony?

          He is a felon, in your learned opinion, because he had evidence of THC in his system. No evidence of how it got there. No evidence of how long it had been there. No evidence that it had any effect on him at the time Yanez shot him.

          If Castile /was/ smoking grass in front of the girl in the back seat, as Yanez claimed he suspected 15 hours later, then she ALSO would have had some amount of THC in her system. Under your THC=felon concept, do you believe she should ALSO be a prohibited person for the rest of her life?

        • In my learned opinion, he is a felon because he was a user of marijuana, a controlled substance as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802), while possessing a firearm. I saw a video of him smoking pot. You said he has THC in his system. It is not in dispute that he was a user of marijuana. No one has denied this fact. It is not in dispute that he was in possession of a firearm. Those two facts alone make him a prohibited person.

          There is no need for any conviction. Under 922(g) there are about six general circumstances under which it is unlawful for a person to be in possession of a firearm and not have been adjudicated as/of anything. In each instance. There are only two instances in which a conviction is necessary. Possession is a felony punishable by 10 years in every instance described by 922(g) (with a few narrow exceptions).

          “Under your THC=felon concept” that’s a strawman. I never said that. “a prohibited person for the rest of her life?” Who said anything about the child being a user of marijuana and possessing a firearm or 922(g)(3) being a lifetime ban? I didn’t. I’ve never heard of someone being a prohibited person for having been, but no longer being, a user* of marijuana. I haven’t researched the issue either. About half of the prohibited person categories use present tense language, and the other half uses past tense language. That’s enough for me to decide, but not advise, that a person must be a user, not have been a user, to be a prohibited person.

          If someone is a felon because they committed a felony, they are not a prohibited person. 922(g)(1) makes someone convicted of a felony a prohibited person. There is a difference between a felon and a convicted felon, but only legally. The person still did the thing, they just didn’t get convicted for it.

          Let me put it this way, if you murder someone and get away with it because the cops never figure out who murdered the victim, so no one is ever charged, you are still a murder. You’re still a murder even if you get charged and acquitted.

          If the officer in this case did indeed act with the requisite intent for manslaughter, he is a felon regardless of the acquittal. He just got away with it and isn’t a convicted felon. (The same for murder, but I seriously doubt he had that level of intent).

          *The precise definition of a user would be an interesting debate. The distinction between a user and an addict would be an interesting debate as well.

  1. That the city settled so quickly for 3 mil shows that they know how badly they fucked up with the training and hiring of Ofc. Yanez. They know full well that if the wrongful death suit had gone to court, they’d have been rightfully taken to the cleaners.

    There isn’t one aspect of the traffic stop that was not fucked from the start.

    • Well yeah…THIS is the usual outcome in all the Chiraq cop shootings. Mebbe’ they could hire better po-leece?!?

    • My only comnent/question: how is it that the parents had standing? What harm do they claim? (NB the same with the “parents” of Michael Brown?)

      Shouldn’t it have been Diamond, and/or Castile’s daughter who had standing (i.e. harm) to sue?

      • Standing or not, the city was probably just interested in making it go away.

        They may have decide 3 mil of citizen money was worth it to them.

        Optics…

      • Depending on state law the closest family member ( Mom, Dad , Or child) would have standing for wrongful death over the girlfirend.

        As far as the girlfriend she might be able to pursue legal action based on the danger her life was put in. Again it depends on the state laws.

        But that’s one engineers opinion and no were close to being legal advice.

      • Diamond is just some girl he, or someone else, knocked up five years ago. She’s no relation.

        • She is the mother of the child that will be denied whatever support Castile would have otherwise provided, no?

        • I’m pretty sure Castile wasn’t the “baby daddy” to Diamond. But next of kin goes spouse (shacked up doesn’t count), child(ren), parents. That’s generally speaking.

      • Under Minnesota law, the surviving spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings of the deceased person all have standing to bring a wrongful death action. If more than one person exists with standing, the court appoints a trustee who is the actual plaintiff, and the proceeds get divvied up between everyone with standing.

      • From what I’ve been able to gather from this case, due to the incredibly shitty reporting, the little girl was not Castille’s daughter. They weren’t married, and no legal adoption by Castille had taken place. He was simply the boyfriend, and the little girl is just the girlfriend’s daughter.

        The reason the mother had standing is probably because Castille most likely didn’t have a will, and in most states, with no spouse or children, the parents become the heirs to the estate, however paltry that might have been.

        In the “gentle giant” case the guy that stood up and said “burn this bitch down” was reported to be the stepfather. He wasn’t. He was just the “giant’s” mother’s latest hook up. Truly amazing what passes for family structure in the ghetto. I’m waiting for the day they confer standing on other members of the street gang as siblings…

    • “not fucked from the start.”

      beginning and ending with a guy reaching for whatever when told to keep his hands. in plain sight.

      not odd that he couldn’t follow directions since he had dozens if not hundreds of traffic violations.

      did he deserve to die? no.

      but he may have been too stupid to get his family $3 million by doing anything other than getting shot for not following a simple instruction.

      how many here would not do the same thing as the cop if they were holding a suspected criminal on their front porch who claimed he was armed and just reaching for his permit….

  2. 3 mil could have bought a lot of training and hiring filtering to prevent people like this from ever wearing a badge.

    In the cases of “bad shoots” (there are plenty of good ones) the common thread seems to be sloppy execution. In this case:

    1)Why would you walk up to a car with no gun drawn on a felony stop?
    2)To add to 1 why wouldn’t you stop them, camp out and get backup?
    3)If you believe the person to be an armed robber, why would you freak out when they actually are armed? Shouldn’t you expect that?
    4)Why would you lie to the person about the nature of the stop? His reaction would have been very different had he been told they were looking for an ARMED ROBBER.
    5)He let his adrenaline get away from him due to the armed robber call, and it made him not think the way he should have.

    That said, where I think he went wrong was:
    1)He announced the presence of a gun and kept moving anyways. At the point you do that, you should stop and assess reaction. In this case he had officer spazzo who totally panicked. His hands would have been way better on the steering wheel than trying to get his ID out. Slowing the situation down benefits everyone.
    2)He used the word “firearm.” I certainly would have said “I’m a licensed concealed carrier” and left the “gun” part for him to ask and deal with.
    3)He was condition white the whole time, even after he announced he had a gun. He should have been in yellow or even orange territory after doing such.

    The combination of 1 through 3 is the officer felt panicked due to the compression of time (although IMO needlessly.)

    He may have been inconvenienced for a felony stop and them sorting his permit/gun out but he would be alive had they gone that route.

    • In response to 4)

      Because it’s tricky to just stop someone because you think they are an armed robbery suspect. The 4th amendment doesn’t like armed officers of the state confronting people with little more than “I think you fit the description”, mostly due to how easily that can be abused.

      As a result, cops have to have some sort of valid reason for a traffic stop, so they follow their guy around until one is provided (or until they can provoke one). This leads to stops for legit concerns (tag, brake, and taillights being the most common) and not-so-legit concerns (too fast for conditions, too slow for conditions, weaving, etc) which often get lumped in with Driving While Black in some cases. Once they have a valid-ish reason for a stop, they can proceed with their initial suspicions, and if their ‘suspect’ turns out not to be, they can fall back on the valid-ish ticket to defend themselves against complaints, and everyone moves forward one space.

      This process is all but codified in police departments across the nation, in large part due to somewhat nebulous (victimless crime) laws and court decisions that define proper actions of the police.

      • Really? I’d be willing to debate that. Terry v. Ohio was exactly about that. The description matching gave him the ability to do a stop and detain the subjects in the vehicle to sort the issue out.

        “This discussion shows why it is a mistake to use the expression “PC for the stop,” which mismatches a higher level of justification with a lower level of infringement of individual liberty. “In Terry v. Ohio, we held that the police can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot, even if the officer lacks probable cause.” (U.S. v. Sokolow)”

        http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2011/06/probable-cause-and-reasonable-suspicion.aspx

        • “…police can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot…”

          If the officer is responding to a call about an armed robbery, and as he approaches the scene, he finds a person that he has a reasonable suspicion to be associated with that robbery (wearing the same clothes, actively stuffing cash/items in his pocket, etc.)…THEN he can stop that person.

          But a person driving a car down the road several days after an armed robbery does not meet the “criminal activity is afoot” standard.

          That’s why Terry-based Stop and Frisk polices are currently contentious. Detaining a random person without articulable cause is illegal under Terry, and “he was in a bad neighborhood” or “he was holding his pants funny” isn’t usually good enough.

          If Yanez had stopped Castile for matching the description….it might have worked out OK, IF Castile turned out to be the armed robber. However, if Castile turned out to be a random innocent guy, then Yanez risks a unjustified stop, which can turn into a lawsuit against the police dept.

          So, Yanez comes up with an iron-clad justification, the brake light. This way, if Castile doesn’t turn out to be the robbery suspect, Yanez still has a valid reason for the stop, which prevents lawsuits.

          Terry is an interesting case, and its reach through the machinations of law enforcement is near incredulous.

    • You’re forgetting the biggest thing the cop did wrong in this scenario:

      6) “Don’t pull it out,” and “stop pulling it out,” are needlessly vague instructions in a situation where extreme clarity is required. Telling Castile to “put your hands on the wheel and don’t move them until I tell you,” or even just “stop moving,” would have saved his life. (And saved the city 3 million dollars, for that matter.) “Don’t pull it out” means absolutely nothing to someone who is not, in fact, pulling the item in question out, and repeating that command, no matter how clearly, will only confuse them.

      It’s certainly true that Castile can, and should, have handled the situation differently, and the mistakes he made can be a good teaching tool for potential concealed carriers, but he was not responsible for maintaining control over the situation. The officer was, and anyone with his training should know that clear instructions, which leave no room for interpretation, are vital in a situation like that.

      • Which is why IMO despite what he did the officer was acquitted in err on the manslaughter charges.

    • Is there some video I haven’t seen? How do you know Castile moved?

      All I’ve seen is the facebook live AFTER the shooting, and the dashcam- which shows NOTHING of what happened INSIDE the car, where the supposed action occurred.

      Is there a third video I’m missing?

      • While there is not a third video showing what Castile was doing in the seconds between informing the officer he had a firearm and the officer shooting him, what both men say on the audio of the dash cam can be used to paint a pretty convincing picture.

        The officer says some version of ‘don’t pull it out’ or ‘don’t reach for it’ three times. Castile says “I was reaching for…” once and “I’m not pulling it out” once. Reynolds says “He’s not [pulling it out]” once.

        Cleary, Castile was doing something with his hands other than leaving them attached to the steering wheel. He even says “I was reaching for…”, indicating that he was, in fact, reaching for something.

        I have no doubt that he was reaching for his wallet to produce some sort of ID. Whatever he was reaching for, he was still reaching. He likely felt he was doing what the officer wanted (getting his ID, and not his gun), and the officer was probably fixated on the idea of a gun, ignoring anything Castile was saying to the contrary.

  3. Is that assclown that shot him paying a single penny of that settlement? No? What a travesty of justice, the public paying for the fuckup of a pansy who should never have been trusted with a nerf gun.

  4. Wow…..a rarity——a comment section with sensible individuals. Amazing what clarity is present when intelligence meets truth. Maybe I’ll just start linking these comments.

  5. I am sure this taxpayer-funded payoff will cause the government goons to learn their lesson and review their training and tactics, and renege the special legal privileges granted to them by the judiciary that encourage police malfeasance. 🙂

  6. $3 million seems a bit much for me. Maybe cafeteria workers make a lot more money than I thought. I think the bulk of the settlement is go away money.

  7. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, make sure to reach around your body towards your gun during a traffic stop and YOU TOO can win the ghetto lottery.

    Well, your next-of-kin.

    But whatever.

    This is a lot less ridiculous of a civil case than the Michael Brown one. That said, the motives for settling it were exactly the same.

  8. It truly is time to decouple criminal and civil law, or alter the relationship. If someone is found innocent of thr criminal charge, no civil suit can be filed. Far too often, the civil suit is used to flout the Double Jeopardy Clause.

    • They didn’t sue the former officer, they sued the City that hires and trains the police department. No abuse of double jeopardy there?

      • They probably sued the city, the department, and the (former) officer. The (former) officer wouldn’t have to pay anything. Double jeopardy doesn’t have anything to do with the criminal/civil divide. I think Scott in CI’s point is that it should.

  9. Here we go again, taxpayers footing the bill for winners of the “Ghetto Lottery”. We are rewarding neglectful criminal gene bearing parasites who raise thugs that commit crime and get “made good” by police.

    “Aspiring astronaut” Trayvon Martin’s “parents” including his “mother” who abandoned him at age three (3) get a million, “college bound” Mike Brown’s “parents” get a million and a half, “lead paint victim” (LOL) Freddie Grey, a real POS even by “ghetto” standards, watches from Hell as his mammy in Baltimore, gets $7.5 million and now Philando Castile’s heirs get $3 million. What a racket!

    What should outrage everybody (taxpayers) is that these suits are filed on “lost future earnings”. What “earnings”? These dysfunctional products of the Democrat’s plantation, cost us whether they are dead or alive, it might even be more while alive with incarceration and court costs.

    Damn, if I knew slinging crack/heroin, robbing convenience stores, committing home burglaries, and being chronic dope-smoking armed robbers was so profitable I might have majored in that in school..

  10. So, “ghetto lottery” means these people are deliberately seeking to get maimed or killed for financial benefit? Were the white people killed by cops who live outside ghettos like Samantha Ramsey and Michael Bell Jr. also playing this lottery?

    Are cops ever responsible for their actions to you bootlickers?

    • The level of racist undertones in these comments is insane. Just because someone was not wealthy and is black a lot of people seem to be assuming Castile was some sort of gang member or criminal.

      If a poor white guy in a pick-up truck had been shot in the same circumstances most of these same commenters would probably be screaming (well typing away at the keyboards fervently in all caps) about the injustice and saying how someone’s life is worth more than $3 million and the officer should have been convicted.

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