Minnesota Court Upholds Decision Against Ex-Officer Who Shot Philando Castile

Source: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board has been sided by the court for rejecting Jeronimo Yanez’s substitute teacher license application. The former police officer, with a retro case of manslaughter, appears again in the courtroom in his appeal against a Minnesota board.

In 2016, Yanez fatally shot a black man in a supposed routine traffic stop. And his controversial acquittal afterward sprung various emotional questions and rage. Since quitting his job in the force, his next resort seems like a dead end due to questions about his amoral precedence.

Morals Before Substitute Teaching

Following the appeal court’s rule on Monday, Jeronimo Yanez is rendered unfit for public school teaching. Perhaps not surprising enough since the verdict only affirms the initial move of the licensing body.

Source: Jeff Baenen

There are certain moral standards required to qualify to teach in public schools. And according to the Minnesota board, Yanez’s legal history disqualifies him from the job. For the former police officer, this is arguably a downturn at redemption.

Case Back And Forth

Yanez has had his licensing pursuit going for a while. In 2022, the court had to return his case file to the board. The reason was concise. They needed a well-grounded reason for the application disapproval other than “immoral character or conduct.”

Source: X/tonygoldwyn

The court needed a focus shift from the unclear reason provided. As a result, asking the board to streamline its verdict based on whether or not the former officer is a match for the teaching profession. Only then would the case proceed.

A Second Denial

The court’s request for the board’s reexamination isn’t a hopeful one for Yanez. It’s only a reprise of the initial rejection. One could easily assume this since the court only needed clarity on why he’s not an ideal fit to teach.

Source: AFP

This time, although a second denial, the board meets the court’s requirement. After further proceedings, they were left with no other option than to stand on their previous decision. Meanwhile, with more precision on “why?”

The Murder Of Philando Castile

Philando Castile was a civilian who died from the service weapon of Yanez. While Castile admitted carrying a gun, the former St. Anthony police officer released fire, killing the 32-year-old.

Source: LinkedIn

Shortly after the unfortunate incident, it was discovered that the St. Paul elementary school cafeteria worker had a permit for his firearm. Present in the vehicle were his young daughter and girlfriend, who live-streamed the shooting’s aftermath.

Case Play-Out

The murder incident of Castile riled a lot of people up. Seeing the perpetrator eventually go free is something not conceivable for many. Quite unusual, but there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Yanez. Hence, the former officer was acquitted.

Source: X/WCCO

Even with the live footage, prosecutors found it difficult to make something worthwhile from the case. No video exactly showed what happened inside Castile’s car. This left room for doubt regarding the course of action.

Public Revolt At The Unprosecuted Murders

Yanez at the time was the first of two police officers to be acquitted in a killing in less than a week. The other case was that of an on-duty reckless first-degree murder. Again, the Milwaukee occurrence involved a black man.

Source: startribune

Castile’s killing preceded George Floyd’s, and the latter triggered a raging nationwide movement. Quite understandably, the revolt was also further ignited by the unfair judicial rulings in other several murder cases. The public protests spread across Minnesota and beyond.

Yanez’s Job Quit

According to a separation agreement, the Minnesota police officer left the suburban department that employed him at the time of the killing. It was reported that Yanez would receive a lump sum of $48,500 minus applicable deductibles following his quit.

Source: City of St. Anthony

After avoiding prosecution, the city wouldn’t still stand him being in the local police force. They announced that the public would be best served if he were no longer an officer.

Other Binding Settlements

A five-page agreement was released through a public records request attested to other binding monetary settlements. The Minneapolis suburb of St. Anthony will also pay Yanez for up to 600 hours of accrued and unused personal leave pay.

Source: YouTube

Yanez’s annual salary at the time of the July 6, 2016, shooting was more than $72,600. This didn’t include overtime pay, according to documents released by the city. For a public employee, a voluntary separation agreement draws the curtain on a part of the horrible tragedy.

The Career Shift

Despite not being formally sent off from his job, Yanez resigned from his position in the force. However, his job switch afterward could leave one questioning what informed his choice. Safe to say that the former office sought fiscal refuge in an insular school.

Source: Reuters

There, the Latino began teaching Spanish part-time. For someone formerly in the force, this is an unusual career shift that could pose a challenging adjustment. But of course, what matters in the end is getting the bills sorted.

Reason For License Denial

While reconsidering Yanez’s license application, the Minnesota board concluded the ex-officer racially profiled Castile. Yanez stopped the deceased based on the assumption that he might be a robbery suspect.

Source: David Joles

The board concluded that his decision to fire seven shots into the vehicle was uncalled for. In doing so, he also endangered the lives of his girlfriend and her daughter. These actions were found contrary to the principles of the Minnesota teachers’ chapter.

Court’s Follow-Up Assessment

After the Minnesota board made its stance clear, the appeal court was fully in sync. This time, the board was said to follow the right protocols in making its definitive call.

Source: X/MyersVote

Yanez’s actions aren’t in line with the provisions of the ethics code for Minnesota teachers. This involves the nondiscrimination mode of exercising disciplinary authority and student protection.

An Expert’s Side

One of the experts who testified in the case was Joseph Gothard. He reiterated that Yanez’s preconceived notion of Castile was a discriminating one. Perhaps also fueled with some subtle dislike which is of no good to students, especially those of color.

Source: X/stpaullibrary

Further in his testimony, Dr. Gothard questioned Yanez’s ability to conform to the ethical demands of a diverse student population. This implied that his presence as a staff could pose a threat to students, teachers, and even parents.

The Lawyer’s Position

Yanez’s lawyer, Robert Fowler, substantiated their stance, stating the board lacks expertise on policing affairs to make such decisions. In his words, “The licensing cherry-picked its findings to make biased conclusions.”

Source: Stephen Maturen

He further accused the court of taking zero interest in addressing the surrounding political issues, but rather rubber-stamping the agency’s decision. Meanwhile, he stated that Yanez continues to teach at his current insular school.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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