Recently-released documents from Jeronimo Yanez’s trial for the murder of Philando Castile have revealed that Yanez’s reasoning for shooting Castile stemmed from the smell of marijuana coming from the latter’s car.
Following the announcement that Yanez was found not guilty in the fatal shooting of Castile, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office in Minnesota released a collection of documents centered around the case. One document includes a transcript from an interview with Yanez where he blamed the smell of weed for his fear in the situation.
“I thought, I was gonna die,” the former Minneapolis police officer said. “…I thought if he’s, if he has the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?”
In a separate part of the interview, Yanez also remarked about why Castile owned a weapon, suggesting that he thought it was used to fend off drug dealers.
“Usually people that carry firearms carry ’em on their waistband,” he said. “Being that the inside of the vehicle smelled like marijuana, I didn’t know if he was keeping it on him for protection from a drug dealer or anything like that, or any other people trying to rip him. Rip him meaning steal from him.”
Yanez’s statements are not only prejudice against Castile (he assumes that Castile must be the one smoking marijuana and that he owns a gun to ward off drug dealers) but are an example of blatant implicit bias. Nevertheless, Yanez was still acquitted.