Earlier today, news broke that a $3 million settlement was reached between the family of Philando Castile, an African American male wrongfully murdered by police officer Jeronimo Yanez last year for a traffic stop, and the city of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota. Compared to other police brutality cases, the settlement was reached expeditiously, just 10 days after the acquittal of former Officer Jeronimo Yanez on counts of second-degree manslaughter and endangering other peoples with the intentional discharge of a firearm.
Dash cam footage released earlier last week shows Castile complying with Officer Yanez. Yanez asks Castile for his license and insurance papers, and after Castile hands his papers to Officer Yanez, he notifies the officer that he has a firearm in his possession. Yanez tells Castile not to reach for the firearm, and Castile then replies “I’m not pulling it out.” In the next few seconds, Yanez fires seven shots at Castile, with his girlfriend and 4-year old daughter also in the vehicle.
— KnowYourRightsCamp (@yourrightscamp) June 21, 2017
Below is the released statement regarding the settlement between the two parties, showing that the settlement will be paid through the city’s coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, and not taxpayer funds. In addition to the settlement, a Philando Castile Relief Foundation will also be established.
— Mara Gottfried (@MaraGottfried) June 26, 2017
Although the settlement was reached and necessary to the Castile family, no monetary amount can ever compensate for the wrongful loss of a black life. Time and time again, at the expense of Black lives and black communities, accountability and justice are denied, but fiscal compensation is granted. Similar patterns of police brutality are seen among other cases of police brutality with Tamir Rice and Michael Brown, where the officers of both cases responsible for their deaths were not charged for the killings, and instead, settlements were reached.
Jeronimo Yanez should have been convicted for the murder of Philando Castile. The American justice system continuously settles lawsuits when innocent lives are victims of police brutality, yet fails to address the blatantly ingrained racism within the law enforcement and convict the officers responsible. This is not enough, and it’s crucial to recognize that the American justice system isn’t failing black people, as it’s working exactly as it was designed to do. With that, we must continue actively working to dismantle this system specifically designed to legally endanger black bodies.