Prosecutor discusses Philando Castile case with University of North Dakota students
GRAND FORKS - A prosecutor who gained national fame for prosecuting a killer cop is sharing his side of the story.
The shooting death of a black man - which was recorded on Facebook -which was recorded on Facebook - outside the Twin Cities two years ago sparked days of protests.
John Choi, the main prosecutor in the Philando Castile case, is opening up to local students.
"I think every time we can talk about race is a time for us to grow and come together," Organizer Stephen Williamson said.
Philando Castile is still on the minds of students at the University of North Dakota.
But deaths like Castile's continue cause a rift between people and police.
"If you talk to African-American people who have been subject to numerous traffic stops, for them it could be very very normal," Ramsey County Prosecutor John Choi said.
John Choi is shedding light on the case.
"We believe that his fear was unreasonable. So therefore the justification to use deadly force did not apply," Choi said.
Choi filed manslaughter charges against Officer Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony Police Officer who shot and killed Castille at a traffic stop.
A gun was later found in Castile's clothes.
Castile's girlfriend was in the car and she recorded the events on Facebook live - a post that went viral.
"His hand wasn't down here when he got shot. His hands were somewhere up here -because the forensic evidence shows the bullet coming in hitting one of his fingertips on this side and going out the other," Choi said.
But the jury disagreed with Choi, and cleared the officer of any wrong doing.
"We felt that officer Yanez didn't wake up that morning and say that I'm going to kill somebody today. What happened was he used unreasonable panic," Choi said.
The chief prosecutor says police should be trained in de-escalation.
"Creating space time and distance from incidents so that you can also have the option of removing yourself from the situation," Choi said.
An important conversation with the lawyers of tomorrow.
"This will help foster that law enforcement community relationship by showing some of the worst aspects that can happen in the community and how can we better that relationship going forward," Williamson said.