Shooting scene where Philando Castile was killed by police (209649)
Credit: Harry Colbert/Insight News

“You are next.”

That is what the mother of Philando Castile, Valerie Castile, said to the public June 16 when she learned about the verdict on Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Castile during a traffic stop last year, was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter June 16, according to CNN.

“We’ve got to change the system at large to where we were moving in the Obama administration —with the courts and federal laws—when he came with the body cameras, but these people are going all the way backward,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton about the Philando Castile verdict. “We are going backward. So we have to stay on it, and we will.”

Various sources have their different statements on the matter. However, the most common emotion that was expressed was disappointment “I’m very [seven times] disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota,” said Valerie Castile.

Sources such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Black Lives Matter have issued statements on the verdict.

The NAACP stated in part, “The NAACP extends condolences to and stands in solidarity with the Castile family during this time of profound disappointment.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has posted on Facebook, “We will never stop fighting for justice for Philando and the countless other Black lives taken by violent cops. Philando, we honor your life today, despite the fact that our ‘justice’ system has not.”

The shooting took place July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minn. Castile was in a car with Diamond Reynolds, his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. He was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. Yanez said he had a broken taillight. Castile told Yanez that he had a firearm and a permit, according to Reynolds. Yanez shot Castile seven times while was getting his identification card and documentation as he had been instructed to do by Yanez.

Reynolds live-streamed a video of the incident on Facebook after Castile was shot.

The verdict has inspired protests from Minnesota to New York.

NewsOne Now told the Amsterdam News that Roland Martin has interviewed DeLacy Davis, founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality; civil rights attorney and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, Nekima Levy-Pounds; and Howard University professor Greg Carr, Ph.D., J.D. about the public release of the dashcam video that shows the shooting of Castile by Yanez.

“What we’re seeing when it’s a Black person, the bias kicks in that they’re aggressive, and that they can be violent,” said Davis, according to NewsOne Now. “The officer’s bias kicks in, and he begins to accelerate this scenario in a way that shouldn’t be.”

Levy-Pounds agreed. “It was baffling to know that the jury watched this particular video over and over and over again and still came to the conclusion that Yanez was not guilty in this particular scenario,” she said. “Beyond that, Philando Castile went above and beyond what the law requires in even reporting that he had a firearm—that’s actually not required under the law in the state of Minnesota.”

Carr said it’s clear that the not-guilty decision was fueled by the negative bias toward African-Americans from law enforcement. “Juries are put in difficult positions because the prosecution, including the judge, are against Black people,” he said. “We’re not baffled—we’re outraged. The bottom line is this: You’re looking at a country that is terrified of Black people, has always been terrified of Black people. This is not going to be solved in the courts.”

Valerie Castile made one thing clear about how she felt about the verdict. Standing outside the courthouse where the verdict was delivered, she said, “I’m mad as hell right now.”

Castile also said, “The system continues to fail Black people, and they would continue to fail you all. … Because this happened with Philando, when they done with us, they’re coming for you [three times] and all your interracial children. Y’all next.”

When asked about the chances that African-Americans will get any positive changes in any of the police brutality cases under the Trump administration, Sharpton said “People said it was not going to make a difference and you see the difference.”

The St. Anthony Police Department, in which Tanez was an officer, released a press statement on the day of the verdict: “The City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer. The terms of this agreement will be negotiated in the near future, so details are not available at this time. In the meantime, Officer Yanez will not return to active duty.”

In response, the NAACP said, “Although the St. Anthony Police Department has made the important decision to terminate Officer Yanez’s employment, without a conviction justice has not been served.”