A lawyer for a Minnesota police officer who shot a black driver said Monday that his client thought he was approaching someone who resembled a suspect in an armed robbery – an assertion that could be pivotal as investigators review how the deadly traffic stop went down.
But outside observers say that claim raises some questions. Among them: If the officer suspected Philando Castile in the robbery, why didn’t he treat the traffic stop as a potentially dangerous situation?
“There’s something inconsistent about what happened here,” said Albert Goins, a Minnesota attorney who is not representing anyone in the case. “That inconsistency has got to be answered.”
St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile on Wednesday in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile’s death – and another police shooting a day earlier in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that also left a black man dead – prompted protests around the country, including in Dallas, where five officers were killed and several more were wounded Thursday.
Protesters have been camped out in front of the Minnesota governor’s mansion for days, demanding justice, while dozens were arrested after a weekend march shut down a 6-mile stretch of freeway.