Yanez could head back to court with civil lawsuit

The family of Philando Castile says they're planning a civil suit against the former St. Anthony officer.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Jeronimo Yanez could be heading back to court, as the family of Philando Castile says they're planning a civil suit against the former St. Anthony officer.

Federal civil lawsuits are common following cases of police use of deadly force, but an attorney who files a lot of them says they aren't easy to win.

"It's going to be just almost a do-over," said Attorney Paul Applebaum.

He believes a civil trial over the police shooting of Philando Castile would be very similar to the criminal trial that ended Friday. And that includes the obstacles in the law the Castile family would need to overcome to win a case against a police officer.

"They're wrapped in a blanket that gives them an extra layer of protection," he said.

Applebaum represents clients who sue officers in federal court over civil rights violations stemming from use of force. He's not representing the Castile family, but if he were, he said he'd prepare them for a difficult fight.

"I would make it very clear to the family that these are the obstacles you faced in the criminal trial, and they're going to rear their ugly head again in the civil realm as well," he said.

The standard of proof in civil cases is lower - you don't have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury would have to believe it is more likely than not that given the totality of the circumstances, Officer Yanez's use of force was excessive.

Applebaum says cases like this get settled out of court before reaching a trial 95 percent of the time.

"They're very risky, and that's why both sides are usually very motivated to resolve the case without going to trial," he said.

But a victory at trial would mean a much higher reward.

"If the case goes well for the plaintiffs, I could see in excess of seven figures," he said. "Settlements? Far less than that."

A spokesperson for the Castile family would not tell KARE 11 their timeline for filing this lawsuit. On Tuesday the state will release all the evidence from the Yanez trial, including the dash camera video that shows the shooting.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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