The attorneys for the Minnesota officer who shot Philando Castile earlier this year are arguing that the shooting was justified because Castile was allegedly high on marijuana during his fatal encounter with police.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that attorneys for St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez are making the THC found in Castile’s blood during an autopsy a key part of their defense.
The Pioneer Press notes that Yanez’s attorneys are arguing that Castile was high on pot when he was pulled over this past July, which resulted in him supposedly ignoring Yanez’s commands and staring “straight ahead during the traffic stop,” thus making him “culpably negligent in the incident.”
The officer’s attorneys also argue that Castile had no right to carry a firearm despite having a permit to carry one because “narcotic users are not eligible to own, let alone carry, a firearm on their person.”
The 32-year-old Castile’s death garnered national headlines earlier this past July when his girlfriend filmed his fatal encounter with police and posted it online. The video showed that Castile was complying with the officer’s commands, and that he had informed Officer Yanez that he was carrying a gun on him so the officer wouldn’t be alarmed if he spotted it.
When Castile then reached for his wallet to present his identification, the officer opened fire on him. Last month, the officer who shot Castile was charged with second-degree manslaughter.