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City Pays Nearly $3M Settlement to Philando Castile's Mother

Supporters of Philando Castile hold a portrait of Castile as they march along University Avenue in St. Paul, Minn., leaving a vigil at the state Capitol on June 16, 2017. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP)

Days after the officer who shot Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges in the motorist’s death, the city of St. Anthony, Minn., announced a $3 million wrongful death settlement with Castile’s mother.

Castile, a 32-year-old nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, was shot to death by Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a July 2016 traffic stop after Castile told the policeman he was licensed to carry. Castile’s fiancee, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car, and Reynolds broadcast on Facebook the aftermath of close-range shooting as Castile was dying.

In dashcam video released last week, the officer asks to see Castile’s license and registration. Castile can be heard calmly telling Yanez that he had a permit and had a gun. Yanez can be heard telling Castile “don’t pull it out” while Castile replies multiple times that he’s not; Yanez then fired several shots into Castile’s chest. The National Rifle Association has not responded to multiple media organizations’ request for comment on the slaying of the gun owner.

Yanez was let go from the police department.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city and Valerie Castile said in a joint statement, she as trustee will receive a payment in the amount of $2.995 million.

“The settlement will be paid through the city’s coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. No taxpayer monies from the city of St. Anthony Village will be used to fund this settlement,” the statement said. “The city and the trustee were able to reach this agreement avoiding a federal civil rights lawsuit which may have taken years to work its way through the courts exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community.”

The release added that the death of Philando Castile is “a tragedy for his family and for our community.”

“The parties moved expeditiously to resolve potential civil claims resulting from this tragedy in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for all those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States,” the statement continued. “No amount of money could ever replace Philando. With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.” The foundation aims to helps other victims of gun violence.

“The important work of healing our community continues. The city of St. Anthony Village reaffirms its commitment to transforming its police department in partnership with the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Through the Collaborative Reform Initiative, the city and residents are working to improve trust between the police department and the communities it serves.”

The city said the settlement documents would be released to the public after they have been finalized.