A Minnesota officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer was acquitted of all charges on Friday (16 June). Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile's car over in Falcon Heights on 6 July, 2016 and shot the black motorist multiple times just seconds after he informed the officer that he was carrying a gun for which he had a permit.
Castile's death sparked widespread outrage and protests, in part because the aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. The video of his final moments stunned the nation and soon went viral amid the reignited debate over race and violence by law enforcement towards minorities, particularly African-Americans.
After five days of deliberations, the jury found Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.
Castile's relatives furiously denounced the jury's decision. Outside the courthouse, his mother Valerie Castile said Yanez got away with "murder".
"The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all," she said. "My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?"
Following the verdict, Twitter erupted with thousands of people venting their frustration, anger and heartbreak at the latest decision by the judicial system involving fatal killings of blacks by police in the US.
"How long will they kill our brothers while we stand around and look?" actor Wendell Pierce tweeted.
Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour wrote: "Another day, another miscarriage of justice. Another black man's life devalued. We will never forget."
"This country, my home, is breaking my f**king heart," Tony Award-winning actress and singer Anika Noni Rose tweeted.