Judge Writes Letter to Jurors in Philando Castile Shooting

The Minnesota judge in the case against the police officer who killed 32-year-old black motorist Philando Castile has written a letter of support to the jurors. Ramsey County District Judge William H. Leary III told jurors the public had “a failure to understand what you were asked to do” after they acquitted Jeronimo Yanez on June 16. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune obtained the letter, in which Leary said he wanted to thank the jurors “for the profound public service you provided to this country and the State of Minnesota.” He continued, “I write to re-assure you that you faithfully fulfilled the difficult task you were asked to undertake.” The decision sparked widespread criticism after dash-cam footage of the shooting was shown during the trial. “The criticism of the jury’s decision of which I am aware has focused primarily on a reaction to the squad-cam video and on consideration of issues you as jurors were never asked to address,” Leary wrote in the letter, dated June 23. “You were simply asked to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether a crime had been committed.”