Jeronimo Yanez, the former police officer who was spotted on camera shooting Castile seven times from point-blank range, attempted to use the smell to cover for his actions when he was interviewed following the gruesome shooting.
"I thought, I was gonna die," said Yanez, "and I thought if he's, if he has the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?"
During a separate part of the interview, Yanez also made a puzzling remark about why Castile would own the gun, suggesting he thought it would be used to wield off drug dealers.
"Usually people that carry firearms carry 'em on their waistband," he said. "Being that the the inside of the vehicle smelled like marijuana, I didn't know if he was keeping it on him for protection from a drug dealer or anything like that, or any other people trying to rip him. Rip him meaning steal from him."
After Yanez was ruled not guilty on all counts for the murder of Castile, activists and critics have pointed out a laundry list of problems with the case. The NRA, which claims to stand for law-abiding gun owners, has been suspiciously silent during the ordeal, and Castile's mother Valerie hinted at the prejudice that got her son killed in a profanity-laced tirade that followed the verdict.
“I’m sure y’all seen this bullshit that happened today. Fuck what they talking about!” Valerie Castile said said. “I’ve been holding myself, trying to be strong, and not say the wrong things because I already know how they get down. I’m 61 years old. I’ve seen it, I’ve smelled it, I’ve heard it. Now you see exactly what these motherfuckers think about us. They murdered my motherfucking son with his seat belt on. So what does that say to you?”
Yanez was only recently let go by the St. Anthony Police following the verdict.