Castile family settles with St. Anthony for nearly $3 million

Some 10 days after a Ramsey County jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of all criminal charges related to killing Philando Castile, St. Anthony Village and the Castile family announced a cash settlement.

The June 26 announcement said St. Anthony agreed to pay Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, $2.995 million to settle all civil claims related to Castile’s death.

The settlement will be paid by the city’s coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, with the statement pointing out it will not be paid with taxpayer money.

In the days following the June 16 verdict, the Castile family had said it intended to file suit.

Castile was killed during a July 6, 2016, traffic stop on Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights, which contracts for police service from St. Anthony, though that agreement is set to be over at the end of the year as a result of the fallout from Castile’s death.

Yanez pulled Castile over because of a broken taillight and because he thought Castile looked like a suspect in a recent armed robbery in Lauderdale, which St. Anthony also polices.

Yanez, as he told the jury, thought Castile was reaching for a gun — Castile had just told the officer he was armed — and shot seven times into the 32-year-old’s car.

“The death of Philando Castile is a tragedy for his family and for our community,” the settlement statement said. 

“The parties moved expeditiously to resolve potential civil claims resulting from this tragedy in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States.”

St. Anthony announced it was firing Yanez less than an hour after the verdict came out.

The U.S. Department of Justice, through its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, is currently reviewing the St. Anthony Police Department, and the statement said the city “reaffirms its commitment to transforming its police department” through the review.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” the statement said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.”

The statement said the settlement was reached in order to avoid a lengthy federal civil rights lawsuit that could have stretched on for years.

The last time St. Anthony was sued in federal court was 2014. The Department of Justice brought action against the city over an Islamic center that was blocked by the city council — a settlement was reached four months after the suit was filed, and the center opened the next year.

 

—Mike Munzenrider

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