Philando Castile’s family and loved ones are expressing relief that the Minnesota officer who shot and killed the beloved school cafeteria worker will be facing charges.
In addition, according to KARE-TV, Castile’s family are in full support of the decision to charge St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez with manslaughter in Castile’s death instead of a more serious charge.
Glenda Hatchett, an attorney for Castile’s family, told the news station that she spoke to his mother and her family Wednesday afternoon hours after the charges of second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm were filed.
Hatchett said that from a legal perspective, she supports the manslaughter charge, pointing out that Minnesota statutes dictate what Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and other prosecutors can pursue.
“Certainly, if I had my druthers, the penalty would be more severe. But we have to be realistic. This is what the law says and this is the charge they brought,” Hatchett said. “The worst thing that could happen is that the officer is overcharged and is found not to be responsible for the charges.
“We see this as a historic decision, a historic time,” she added.
In the meantime, Castile’s mother is urging people to let the legal process run its course and to keep protests peaceful.
“We want peace,” Valerie Castile said. “We don’t want any protests to get outrageous.”
In a separate interview, Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said that while the charges were not what she wanted or expected, “We have to give credit where it’s due.”
Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were with Castile at at the time of the deadly encounter, and she live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook. Her attorney, Larry Rogers, said that he is pleased that Choi brought charges against the officer in Castile’s death while also filing additional charges of endangering the lives of Reynolds and her child at the time of the shooting.
Speaking of her daughter, Reynolds said that her 4-year-old is “amazing and full of life.”
“Like any kid, she has questions, but she’s getting help,” she said.
Reynolds said that following the July 6 shooting, she found herself heavily criticized on social media, and she even lost her job, the news station notes.
“I never asked for this to happen to me,” she said through tears. “I never asked for the negative or the positive, but it has affected my life, it affected my job, it affects the way people look at me, it affects everything I do in my life.”
And while the charges are a step forward, Reynolds acknowledged that she will never get closure, KARE reports.
“To him, I was perfect, and I miss that,” she said of Castile.
According to the news station, Hatchett confirmed that a civil lawsuit is in the works, but she said that the criminal case is a priority.
“We see this as a stake in the ground,” she said, “that we are intending for this case to send a loud message that things must change in this country.”
Read more at USA Today.