Amid heated protests over the reinstatement of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, city officials announced Wednesday that the officer would be placed back on administrative leave for his role in the deadly shooting of Philando Castile.
According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Yanez returned for office duty on Aug. 17 following a brief suspension from the force. The cop shot and killed Castile during a traffic stop on July 6 — the bloody aftermath of which was broadcast on Facebook live stream.
The decision to allow Yanez back on desk duty was met with fierce opposition, as local activists gathered outside the St. Anthony Police Department and office of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to protest the officer’s reinstatement. Their efforts and outcries paid off as the mayor moved to rescind the officer’s desk duty assignment.
“The City of St. Anthony has changed Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s status with the city’s police department,” city officials announced in a statement. “He will now return to administrative leave. The decision to change Officer Yanez’s status was made after reviewing concerns and other feedback from the community.”
“Out of respect to the sensitive nature of the tragic incident and the concerns from the community, the Mayor, City Council and City Manager have decided to make this change,” it continued. “Officer Yanez’s status with the department will be reviewed when the investigation process related to the incident is complete.”
The Star Tribune reports that activists and a number of local organizations have demanded that an independent prosecutor review evidence in the Castile case to determine whether Yanez should be criminally charged. However, Choi, the attorney for Ramsey County, still insists that the case be forwarded to his office for review. He has refused to turn over the case and instead hired a private attorney who will act as special prosecutor, according to the paper.
The deadly shooting is still under investigation by the The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
In an interview with the Associated Press, St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth gave Yanez a glowing review and voiced his support for the officer’s reinstatement prior to its reversal.
“He [Yanez] has a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people,” Mangseth said. “He showed me that he could shine in that public eye.”
Castile’s family has a vastly different view of the Minnesota officer and have been very vocal about his place on the police force.
“He should not have the opportunity to wear that uniform while this case is going on because my nephew doesn’t get the opportunity to come back and live right now,” Castile’s uncle, Clarence, told Minnesota’s Fox 9 news. “So he shouldn’t get the opportunity to be a police officer right now.”