Friday's HOT MIC
The police officer charged with manslaughter in the killing of a Minnesota man was found not guilty after lengthy deliberations by the jury.
Philando Castile was shot and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. His death was partly streamed live on Facebook.
Several members of the Castile family screamed profanities and cried after the verdicts were announced, despite warnings from the judge that everyone in the courtroom should remain composed.
"Let me go!" yelled Castile's mother, Valerie.
The families of Castile and Yanez were escorted out of separate courtroom exits. At least 13 officers were present in the small courtroom when the verdicts were read.
Outside court, Valerie Castile said she was disappointed in the state of Minnesota, "Because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth.
"The system continues to fail black people," she said. "My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away! Are you kidding me right now?
"We're not evolving as a civilization, we're devolving. We're going back down to 1969. What is it going to take?"
The jury deliberated about 29 hours about the July 6 traffic stop and heard two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors portrayed Yanez as a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop.
He was too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun, based on an unreasonable suspicion that he was a robbery suspect, they said.
Yanez, a St. Anthony officer, testified he feared for his life because Castile reached for his firearm, despite being instructed not to do.
Yanez's lawyers alleged Castile had been smoking marijuana the day of the shooting, which they said affected his judgment.
Yanez had good reason to be nervous and in a situation where someone has a gun, a police officer should be allowed to err on the side of caution.
Was Castile's death necessary? Probably not. But if there is blame to fall on the officer, Castile comes in for his share of blame as well. When a policeman has a gun pointed at you, you don't reach into your back pocket for anything. In fact, you keep your hands where the policeman can see them.
I will be accused by some of blaming the victim, but acting stupidly in the presence of a policeman with a gun deserves blame.