Police and Law Enforcement

Defense attorneys can bring up pot charge in Minnesota police shooting trial

A Minnesota judge is expected to finalize the list of 12 jurors selected to decide the fate of Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez—the policeman who shot and killed Philando Castile in a traffic stop last July.

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car and broadcasted the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook live. The video went viral with tens of millions of views and sparked heated protests, resulting in arrests.

Behind closed doors on Monday, two important issues were decided before opening statements in trial: the state will be allowed to mention Castile had a permit to carry a gun and the defense will be allowed to bring up marijuana.

HOW CASTILE TOLD OFFICER ABOUT GUN KEY PART OF FINAL MOMENTS

The license to carry is a crucial element of the trial because Castile had a gun on him at the time he was pulled over in a Minneapolis suburb on July 6, 2016. Reynolds said he told the officer he had a gun in the car, to which Yanez responded telling him not to touch the gun.

A gray area is exactly where the gun was and if Castile reached for it after Yanez told him not to touch it. Yanez’s attorneys say Castile did not comply with the officer’s order to freeze.

The issue of marijuana is important because toxicology tests show Castile had marijuana in his system at the time he was killed, according to police. There was also marijuana in the car. Castile’s use of marijuana could have rendered his license to carry invalid.

JURY TO BE PICKED IN MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL OF MINNESOTA OFFICER

Officer Yanez is expected to testify in his defense. It’s yet to be seen if the woman in the car, Reynolds, will take the stand. She was billed as a hero after remaining calm in the video and made appearances on morning talk shows.

According to police, Yanez pulled Castile’s car over because of a broken tail light and because Castile fit the description of an armed robber. Castile was later cleared of that status. The traffic stop went bad when Yanez fired into the car, killing Castile.

Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago bureau. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC