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The Latest: Defense rests in Minnesota officer’s trial

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest in the manslaughter trial of a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The defense has rested in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a black motorist.

Closing arguments are set for Monday for Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Prosecutors say he acted unreasonably in shooting Philando Castile during a July 6 traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb.

Castile had informed Yanez he was carrying a handgun, and barely a minute later was shot five times. Defense attorneys argue that Yanez responded appropriately to the threat of a gun and in fear of his life.

Yanez testified Friday that he saw Castile’s gun and Castile ignored his commands not to pull it out of his pocket.

A 15-member jury could be considering the case as soon as Monday. The jury includes three alternates, but it’s not clear who the alternates are. Two of the 15 are black.

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5:05 p.m.

Prosecutors are trying to raise doubts about a Minnesota officer’s testimony at his trial in the manslaughter death of a black motorist.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Philando Castile five times barely a minute after he approached the car and Castile informed him he was carrying a gun. Yanez testified Friday that Castile disregarded his commands not to reach for the gun and that he clearly saw it before he fired.

Prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft asked Yanez about a statement to investigators that he saw the barrel of the gun before he fired. He said that was significant because it would have meant Castile had the gun all the way out of his pocket when he was shot. The gun was found in Castile’s pocket after the shooting.

Yanez said he meant to say he saw the top of the gun’s slide rather than the barrel.

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3:50 p.m.

A Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in a black motorist’s death is explaining how he came to pull the man’s car over.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is on the stand in his trial in the death of Philando Castile. Yanez shot Castile five times in the moments after the school cafeteria worker informed him he was carrying a handgun. Castile had a permit for the gun.

Yanez testified Friday that he was on the alert for two suspects following a convenience store robbery in the St. Paul suburb of St. Anthony. He says when Castile drove past him, he gave the officer a “deer in the headlights” look that aroused his suspicion.

Yanez says he thought Castile looked like one of the robbery suspects. He says when he approached the car, he could smell burnt or burning marijuana.

An autopsy found traces of THC, the marijuana component that gives a high, in Castile’s system. Defense attorneys argue he was stoned and it affected his responses to the officer’s commands.

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3:15 p.m.

A Minnesota police officer charged in the shooting death of a black motorist says he was “scared to death” in the split-second before he opened fire.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez says he thought he was going to die, and his wife and baby daughter’s face popped into his mind just before he fatally shot motorist Philando Castile.

Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death last July of Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, in a St. Paul suburb. Castile was shot moments after he told Yanez he was carrying a handgun, and prosecutors say Yanez acted unreasonably.

Yanez testified Friday that he told Castile not to reach for his gun and Castile continued to pull it out of his pocket. He says he clearly saw the metal of the gun before he fired seven shots, hitting Castile five times.

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2:40 p.m.

A Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist says he saw a gun before firing.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile. The school cafeteria worker had told the officer moments before the shooting that he was carrying a gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

Yanez testified Friday that he saw Castile’s hand on the gun. He said Castile ignored his instructions not to reach for the gun.

The location of Castile’s gun and what Yanez saw are key issues in whether the officer was justified to use deadly force.

Squad car video recorded Yanez in the moments after the shooting telling a supervisor that he didn’t know where the gun was. But he also told the supervisor he told Castile to get his hand off the gun. The officer backing up Yanez testified that Yanez told him later that he had seen a gun on Castile.

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12:30 p.m.

A use-of-force expert says the key question in a Minnesota police officer’s trial for killing a black motorist shouldn’t be about whether the officer ever saw the man’s gun.

Emanuel Kapelsohn says it should be whether Officer Jeronimo Yanez reasonably believed that Philando Castile was pulling a gun when Yanez shot him.

Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the July death of Castile during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. Castile had told the officer moments earlier he was carrying a gun. The 32-year-old cafeteria worker had a permit for the weapon.

Kapelsohn testified Friday for the defense. He rejected prosecutor Jeff Paulsen’s assertion Friday that the central question in the case is whether Yanez saw Castile’s gun. Kapelson testified earlier that he believed Yanez used reasonable force.

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10:45 a.m.

A use-of-force expert says a Minnesota police officer used reasonable force when he shot and killed a black motorist last year in the seconds after the motorist told him he was carrying a gun.

Emanuel Kapelsohn is the second such expert to testify on behalf of Officer Jeronimo Yanez. The St. Anthony officer is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Prosecutors have portrayed Castile as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”

Yanez then told Castile not to reach for the gun. Kapelsohn says that was a moderate response. And he says when Castile reached for something, Yanez was justified in firing.

Kapelsohn also testified that his tests found Castile could have drawn his gun in a fraction of a second.

Yanez is expected to testify later Friday.

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6:40 a.m.

The attorney for a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop says he plans to call his client to the witness stand Friday.

Defense attorney Earl Gray said Thursday after court adjourned that St. Anthony Officer Jeronimo Yanez will take the stand Friday afternoon or earlier. Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the killing of Philando Castile in the St. Paul suburb last July.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday. The defense then called an expert who testified that Yanez justifiably used deadly force when he shot Castile. The charge against Yanez requires prosecutors to prove the officer acted recklessly and unreasonably given the situation.

Castile had a permit to carry the weapon and he told Yanez he was carrying a gun. A key issue in the case is whether Yanez saw the gun.

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12:09 a.m.

Testimony continues Friday in the manslaughter trial of a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist who informed him he was carrying a gun.

A defense expert testified Thursday that St. Anthony Officer Jeronimo Yanez used “justifiable deadly force” when he shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb last July.

Whether Yanez saw the gun is a key issue. Prosecutors say he acted unreasonably in killing Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker who had a permit to carry the gun.

Retired police officer Joseph Dutton, who now teaches classes on the use of force, testified he’s convinced that Yanez saw the gun.

Defense attorney Earl Gray says they have several witnesses to call Friday before calling Yanez either Friday afternoon or Monday.

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