A jury in Ramsey County District Court on Friday found police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of manslaughter and other charges in the shooting death of St. Paul Public School employee Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer.
Castile, 32, was a member of Local 320 since 2002 and worked as a nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul. Unions issued statements mourning his death last July.
Late Friday, President Denise Specht of Education Minnesota, released the following statement in response to the verdict:
“Today’s ruling does not change two simple facts. Philando was a good man who is missed by the people who loved him and by hundreds of children and educators in the St. Paul Public Schools,” Specht said. “Second, more than a 100,000 Minnesota children who look like Philando will wake up tomorrow in a society that still treats them far differently than white children. Public school educators see the damage caused by this institutional racism every day. We are in the classrooms with students and in our communities with our allies. Together, we interrupt the inequities by race, or other factors, that prevent any group of students from receiving their fair share of the ‘liberty and justice for all’ pledged – but not yet delivered – to every child in our country.
Castile was a member of Teamsters Local 320. "Though he was not a member of Education Minnesota, his commitment to students was as strong as any teacher, college instructor or education support professional represented by our union," Specht said.
Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.