Girlfriend of black man killed by officer testifies in trial

Opening statement expected in trial of Minnesota officer

Her testimony was halted for the day Monday afternoon just as she was describing the hours leading up to the shooting, including the couple's meeting at her daughter's daycare to pick her up for the day and a trip to Cub Foods.

The killing of Philando Castile, 32, by St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter, sparked national outrage and triggered weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

But defense attorneys for Yanez say if the evidence is allowed, they will show evidence the permit was obtained illegally after it was discovered Castile was allegedly using marijuana at the time.

Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile, enters the Ramsey County Courthouse in St. Paul, Minn., before the trial of police officer Jeronimo Yanez on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

A Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist can be heard on squad vehicle audio afterward telling a fellow officer that he doesn't know where the motorist's gun was.

The first witness to testify Monday was Anna Garnaas-Halvorson, an elementary schoolteacher at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, where Castile worked in the cafeteria.

"But for Castile's continuous grip on that handgun, we would not be here", Engh said.

The woman has been in the country about 10 years, and prosecutor Jeff Paulsen said Yanez's attorneys wanted to block the woman because of her race. "I feared for my daughter's safety and my safety because a gun was pointed in our auto".

It was Castile's protective nature that made him want to get a gun permit, Reynolds said.

When asked how long Castile had had his permit to carry at the time of the incident, she said two years.

Diamond Reynolds began testifying Monday in the trial of St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez, 29, who is Latino, is also charged with two counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm for endangering Reynolds and her daughter.

Paulsen also told the court that prosecutors were withdrawing an objection to evidence about unburned marijuana found in Castile's auto.

When Reynolds took the stand Monday, she wept as soon as she saw a photo of Castile.

"I know people are not protected against the police", she said. Defense attorneys argued in pretrial hearings that Castile was stoned and that it affected his behavior during the traffic stop.

Toxicology reports indicated Castile had THC, the active component in marijuana, in his system when killed.

In response to questions by Yanez's attorney, Reynolds said she and Castile smoked marijuana a lot, but not every day. She also acknowledged marijuana was in the auto at the time Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight in a St. Paul suburb. Castile's death in little more than a minute after he was pulled over for a broken taillight captured the world's attention as his girlfriend livestreamed the shooting's aftermath on Facebook. But Kauser said there wasn't enough concern to handle the stop as high-risk, in which occupants are ordered out of the vehicle with their hands up before officers approach. Instead, Kauser said, it was handled as a "stop and ID".

The jury was seated earlier Monday after defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to block one of two black jurors from the final group of 15. Two of the 15 are black.

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