Philando Castile’s tragic death garnered worldwide attention earlier this month when the officer who had fired seven shots into the chest of the African-American man was found not guilty of manslaughter. This case provides an illustration of the differences between a criminal charge, such as manslaughter, and the civil nature of a wrongful death lawsuit. Although Officer Yanez isn’t being held criminally liable for Castile’s death, civil liability is another story altogether.
In 2016, officer Jeronimo Yanez stopped Castile for a busted taillight. Although the 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor of a Montessori school informed Yanez that he had a weapon in his car, the officer claims he feared for his life when Castile reached for something. That’s when Yanez opened fire. During a routine traffic stop, Castile had announced the presence of a weapon and – based on video footage of the stop – appeared to be cooperating with the officer the entire time. Further, there was a four-year old child was in the backseat when Yanez fired multiple rounds into the car.
On July 16, 2017 Yanez was acquitted on manslaughter charges, prompting nationwide (and global) outcry. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or willful actions of another, a Boston wrongful death attorney can help you determine how to move forward.
Castile’s mother has reached a $3 million settlement in the wrongful death case she brought against the man who killed her son. Those funds will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. In addition to dimming the media spotlight on the family so that they may move on with their lives, the settlement prevents a civil murder trial, which could drag on for an extended period of time.
With this settlement, Castile’s family can focus on making an impact through their foundation. The Philando Castile Foundation was established to help victims of police violence and gun violence. The news of the Castile settlement comes days after a settlement was reached with the family of Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. According to reports, Brown’s family settled for $1.5 million. Although the Yanez acquittal has outraged people around the world, these civil successes and large settlements are a small step in the right direction. Settlements of this size dominate headlines and let the world know that racial injustice will not be tolerated.
What is a Civil Murder Trial?
Although Yanez was found not guilty on criminal charges, proving guilt in a civil murder trial may have been an easier process. Civil cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. In layman’s terms, you don’t need as much evidence to prove a case. In a criminal case, allegations must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas in a civil case, they just need to be more likely true than not. This is known as a preponderance of evidence. A MA wrongful death attorney can help you recover damages if you have lost a loved one to another’s negligence or harmful actions.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If you or a loved one has been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys understand the emotional complexities of wrongful death cases. We will do everything possible to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can have the time and space you need to heal. If you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.