GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Use of force experts differ on protocol followed in Castile shooting dash cam video.
For the jury it came down to judgment. Returning a not-guilty verdict for St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez meant in part, jurors were not willing to second guess the judgment of Yanez in a split-second decision.
Two people who have built their careers in law enforcement and use-of-force training were able to take a more critical look at what went right and what went wrong.
“What struck me first after watching the video is how calm officer Yanez seemed," said Mylan Masson.
Masson spent 12 years as an officer with the Minneapolis Park Police and Safety department before becoming the director of law enforcement at Hennepin Technical College.
“Officer Yanez was calm before the shooting," she said. "Something in the car just made him realize there was danger.”
Officer Yanez approaches the driver’s side window of Castile's car at 1:04 into the video. At 1:42, Yanez fires seven shots into the window after he tells Castile, “Don’t pull it out” when Castile tells Yanez he has a firearm.
"I believe it happened so quickly, he was not tense," Masson said. "He reacted to his training and the years of experience he's had and years of training he's had with his firearm."
For Masson, it came down to training. She believes he followed what he was trained to do when he believed Castile was reaching for his firearm.
“I don’t see anything I would change,” Masson said. “It seems he tried to stop something when he (Yanez) tried to put his other hand in to the car. No one wins here.”
But even between use of force experts, opinions differ.
"If I had set that up as a scenario just the way it played out and he had done that, he would have failed the course," Michael Quinn says.
Quinn was a police officer in Minneapolis for 22 years, and he says part of his job was training officers in use of force. Quinn now runs his law enforcement training and ethics firm. Quinn believes even after Castile announced he had a firearm, Yanez failed to take one final step in training before pulling the trigger.
"It didn’t register with him because his panic hit so quick, that next step of evaluating of what to do next and with himself rather than shoot," Quinn said. "He did not take that step."
However where both Qunn & Masson agree is that the outcome was not a win for either party.
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