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Final arguments set in trial of Minnesota cop charged in fatal shooting

Closing arguments are set for Monday in a police officer's manslaughter trial in the death of a black motorist.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument in the trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile just seconds after pulling his auto over last July in a St. Paul suburb.

Jeronimo Yanez, 29, said that after Castile informed the former St. Anthony, Minnesota, cop that he had a licensed firearm in the auto, he told Castile not to reach for it. Yanez said that he saw Castile, 32, reaching for his gun in his pocket and reacted.

Two of the seven shots fired by Yanez missed Castile and nearly hit the girlfriend in the passenger seat, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter in the back seat, Paulsen said.

The police video of the traffic stop and the Facebook Live post by Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat next to him, were played in court Monday.

The Star Tribune reports that the jury of five women and seven men, including just two people of color, received the case at 1:10 p.m. local time Monday.

Squad vehicle video played repeatedly for the jury last week shows the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after the 32-year-old volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". He said none of those officers has been held responsible.

Yanez killed Castile after pulling him over for a broken taillight July 6. Defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in Reynolds' statements to investigators to try to raise doubts about her honesty.

But during closing arguments on Monday, Yanez's defense team said Castile reached for his gun when he was told not to.

Testimony resumes in OH police shooting retrial
The jury consists of seven white women, two African-American women, two white men, and one African-American man. Attorneys will continue questioning potential jurors for a third day on Tuesday in the Ray Tensing case.

Paulsen reminded the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile's trigger finger - and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile's right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun. Yanez shot him seconds after Castile volunteered during a traffic stop that he was carrying a firearm.

Gray agreed that the officer did not say the gun was black in his initial statements, but Gray made clear that the reason was because Yanez "had just been traumatized".

Conviction on the manslaughter charge requires the jury to find Yanez guilty of "culpable negligence", which the judge described in jury instructions as gross negligence with an element of recklessness.

After broadcasting on the radio that he believed he was stopping robbery suspects, he approached the passenger side of the auto and encountered Philando Castile. He also alluded to testimony from defense witnesses who portrayed Yanez as a good and honest man.

The juror said she looked over and was surprised, but confirmed with Leary that the incident would not affect her decision in the case. "We need to step up to be heard up front and (be the) first to do the right thing".

Castile had THC, the high-giving component of marijuana, in his blood when he died. And Yanez saw a gun and feared for his life, Gray added.

Yanez resorted to deadly force "before he was sure", Paulsen said.

Meanwhile, supporters of Castile also gathered Tuesday at the St. Paul courthouse where the jury was deliberating.

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