A Minnesota sheriff’s deputy used Twitter to target Diamond Reynolds, whose husband was killed by deputies during a routine traffic stop in 2016.
When Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken tail-light, he tried following proper protocol. He quickly told the approaching officer, Jeronimo Yanez, that there was a firearm in the vehicle.
Yanez promptly panicked, ordering Castile to stay still.
Reynolds says her boyfriend didn’t move – but that didn’t stop a jumpy Yanez from firing seven shots, all in rapid succession, at Castile. The 32-year old man, blood dripping from his mouth, murmured, “I wasn’t reaching for it.”
Yanez, meanwhile, uttered a curse and kept telling Castile to stay still.
Castile, who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, purportedly never brandished the firearm he’d on his person. He was, rather, following standard procedure for a traffic stop – immediately notifying the officer that he was in possession of a weapon.
The killing attracted notoriety due largely to Reynolds’ actions. With her boyfriend dying in the driver seat and her daughter crying in the back, the woman creating a live stream on social media. Speaking calmly, Reynolds trying explaining what had transpired – how Castile had been killed for no good reason at all.
Yanez was taken to court but later acquitted on a manslaughter charge, along with several others. He agreed to a “voluntary separation agreement” from the department and was paid nearly $50,000, along with payouts for unused personal leave.
Under the terms of the settlement due to be received by Reynolds, the Minnesota city of St. Anthony will pay $675,000 of the total, while Roseville and an insurance trust will make up the rest. Part of the overall award will be put into a trust for Reynolds’ daughter, to be used for “her future educational needs.”
Reynolds’ settlement, if approved, would conclude all of the civil litigation stemming from Castile’s death.
But the victory didn’t come untarnished.
Shortly after the settlement was announced, a Rice County sheriff’s deputy used Twitter to make a series of inflammatory – and, frankly, insulting – posts.
“She’ll have spent that in 6 months on crack cocaine…I hope she loses all her state and county aid now she has this cash,” wrote Deputy Tom McBroom.
Reynolds’ lawyer, Michael Padden, responded to the tweets in a statement Friday.
“It is sad and disturbing that a member of law enforcement not only has these thoughts, but then articulates them on social media for the whole world to see,” said Padden.
Saying that Reynolds has never used the drug, Padden made a fairly simple guess – that Deputy McBroom, might, in fact, be racist.
“One then has to reasonably wonder: how did Sgt. McBroom come up with this?” asked Padden. “Is it solely due to the fact that Ms. Reynolds is African-American?”
Padden said Reynolds is “contemplating” legal action against McBroom and the Rice County sheriff’s department.