By Timothy Mclaughlin
(Reuters) – A police officer in Minnesota who was acquitted of fatally shooting black motorist Philando Castile has left his job under a separation agreement with his suburban department, the city said on Monday.
Jeronimo Yanez, was an officer with the St. Anthony Police Department, when he shot Castile five times during a traffic stop in July 2016. He was found not guilty last month of second-degree manslaughter.
The death of Castile, 32, drew national attention as it occurred during a wave of high-profile police killings of black men. The incidents sparked street protests in cities across the United States accusing police of using excessive force against blacks.
“A reasonable voluntary separation agreement brings to a close one part of this horrible tragedy,” the city of St. Anthony said in a statement.
“The City concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed.”
Yanez, who is Hispanic, was not convicted of a crime so he would have appeal and grievance rights if terminated, the statement added.
Details of the agreement were not disclosed. City officials could not be reached for comment after business hours. An attorney for Yanez did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Yanez, 29, testified that he had feared for his life after Castile told him that he was carrying a firearm and reached for his wallet when Yanez asked to see identification.
Prosecutors said Yanez was not justified in firing his gun, saying that Castile was courteous and non-threatening.
Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him when he was shot, live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media. The video quickly went viral.
Shortly after the verdict, the city of St. Anthony said Yanez, the son of a Mexican immigrant, would not return to active duty and it was negotiating a “voluntary separation agreement” with him.
Castile’s family reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony last month.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Andrew Hay)