• Press Release

Philando Castile Case Highlights Desperate Need for Reform of Lethal Force Laws

June 16, 2017

ST. PAUL, MN - JULY 07: A couple hold a sign protesting the killing of Philando Castile outside the Governor's Mansion on July 7, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile was shot and killed the previous night by a police officer in Falcon Heights, MN. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
©Getty Images/Stephen Maturen

NEW YORK — Following today’s acquittal of Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year and whose death was broadcast on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, Amnesty International USA researcher Justin Mazzola made the following statement:

“Unless our lawmakers get serious about reforming laws that govern lethal force by police, justice will continue to elude grieving families. International standards for the use of lethal force are simple and clear: it must only be an absolute last resort in the face of imminent death or serious injury. Not one U.S. state complies with this simple standard.

“It is unacceptable that communities must fear those that are sworn to protect them. And it is disgraceful that the law will allow the simple act of reaching for your identification when asked by police could be your last. We need reform now before more lives are lost with impunity.”

Amnesty International USA released the report “Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States” in 2015 analyzing lethal laws in all 50 states.