Supporters of Philando Castile hold signs as they march along an on-ramp for Interstate 94 in St. Paul, Minn., after leaving a vigil at the state Capitol on Friday, June 16, 2017. We felt all along his conduct was justified.
"As people across our city, state and country react to the jury's verdict, I urge each of us to move forward in a way that is peaceful and respectful of everyone - residents, demonstrators and police officers alike".
Yanez was the first police officer in modern Minnesota history to be charged in an on-duty shooting.
The dead man's mother, Valerie Castile, speaking to reporters outside the court afterwards, said: "I'm mad as hell right now".
Prosecutors argued that Yanez did not see the gun and acted unreasonably. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable.
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was with him in the vehicle when Castile was fatally shot by Yanez.
Castile's shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the US.
Blocking highways as a form of protest is a common tactic in Minnesota.
After five days of deliberations, the jury of seven men and five women, 10 of whom were white and two of whom were black, found Yanez not guilty of all counts, including two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.
For his family and many in the community, Castile is now one more African American face denied justice, joining the grim gallery of names like Michael Brown of Ferguson, Freddie Gray of Baltimore, and Tamir Rice of Cleveland. Dayton drew criticism in the days after the shooting for suggesting that Castile might not have been shot if he was white. He said they spent a lot of time dissecting the "culpable negligence" requirement for conviction, and the two holdouts eventually agreed Friday on acquittal. Hundreds blocked the I-94 freeway a year ago after Castile's death was first reported. He would not identify the two early holdouts, but said they were not the jury's only two black members.
The evidence included squad vehicle video, but its wide view didn't capture exactly what happened inside the auto _ leaving jurors to essentially decide whether they believed Yanez when he said Castile had his hand on the gun.
Thousands protested in Minnesota on Friday after the acquittal of the police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop past year. "I didn't want to shoot Mr. Castile", he testified, "I thought I was going to die". "The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career". No video existed of exactly what happened inside the auto. Castile appears to give something to Yanez through the driver's side window.
Yanez testified that Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was reaching for his gun despite his commands not to pull it out.
"I am so very, very, very. disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota", Valerie Castile said.
Yanez proceeded to tell him not to reach for it, to which Castile replied that he wasn't. They raised questions about discrepancies in Reynolds' statements to investigators, including where Castile carried his wallet and who purchased the marijuana that was in the auto. Yanez's voice choked with emotion as he talked of being "scared to death" and thinking of his wife and baby daughter in the split-second before he fired.
Much of the incident, in which Castile, 32, was shot in his auto, was streamed live on social media.