ST. PAUL, Minn. - Family, friends and supporters of Philando Castile are expressing both grief and outrage at the finding of a Ramsey County jury that the police officer that ended his life was not guilty of manslaughter.
The reading of the verdicts triggered a loud expletive from Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, and sobbing could be heard as the family made its way out of the courthouse. That grief, however, was soon pushed aside by burning anger, as Castile's mother stepped before a microphone and vented before reporters.
"I'm mad as hell right now, yes I am," shouted Castile. "My first born, No. 1 son, dead, here in Minnesota. Under the circumstances, just because he's a police officer, that makes it OK. Now, they got free reign."
"He shot into a car with no regard for human life," she continued, "and that's OK. Thank you, Minnesota."
Allysza Castile, Philando's younger sister, was more resigned while speaking to reporters.
"The system really is wrong, they really failed us," she said through tears. "They really failed us again, because my brother is a good man."
Judge Glenda Hatchett, who is representing the Castile family in likely civil actions against Jeronimo Yanez, insisted that the fight to protect African-American people like Philando Castile from violent police actions is not over, but admitted the verdict was a bitter pill to swallow.
"I said in July when I first stood before you that this case would mark a turning point in this nation. I'm disappointed it has not, I believe that this time we had to get it right, " Hatchett insisted. "This time we had a young man who had no criminal record ... we didn't have a man who was fleeing from the scene, we didn't have man fighting with the police, we had a man who was fully compliant as his mother taught him."
"If Philando can die under these circumstances, let's be clear -- each of you could die under these circumstances."
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was with him in the car when Castile was fatally shot by Yanez. She did not appear on camera, but released a statement to reporters reacting to the verdicts.
Family members weren't the only ones left struggling with the verdict, and a sense that justice was not served. The St. Paul Public Schools, Castile's employer for 13 years, tweeted a statement underlining that "Mr. Phil's" death has changed the community forever.