HomeAsian AmericansUpdated: Officer in Minnesota Police Shooting Misidentified as Asian

Updated: Officer in Minnesota Police Shooting Misidentified as Asian

Philander Castile
Philander Castile

By Zara Zhi
AsAmNews Staff Writer

(AsAmNews extends its condolences to all the families in the recent police shootings. We urge calm during this volatile situation)

The grisly killings of Alton Sterling, Philander Castile and countless other black lives at the hands of police offers have taken a toll on the nation.

Castile’s killer was originally thought to be Asian by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. But new information released by authorities may contradict that allegation.

Update: An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune describes the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, as Latino

Castile’s death was live-streamed on Facebook by Reynolds. The disturbing footage shows officers asking for Castile’s license and registration after pulling the couple over for a “broken headlight” in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

The victim informed the officers he had a firearm with a permit and always kept his wallet in his back pocket, reports the Star Tribune. The cop told him, “Don’t move, don’t move,” and then fired multiple shots at Castile, said Reynolds. All the while, their daughter was in the vehicle as this was taking place.

“How can one man put his hands in the air and reach for identification at the same time?” she told a crowd of supporters.

Reynolds says it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. “They did not check for a pulse at the scene of the crime,” she said. “They did not make sure that he was breathing.”


But the Asian American community was especially alarmed when Reynold’s described the officer who shot Castile as 5’5, heavyset and “Chinese.”

Some online users even compared the incident to Peter Liang.

One Reddit user wrote:


“Ethnicity would possibly matter in this case because if the police officer is Chinese, and if he is indicted and/or convicted of shooting and killing the black man, then we will probably see more rallies and protests from Chinese Americans to support the Chinese police officer, like those for Peter Liang, to demand the Chinese be freed or given a light sentence.”


However, authorities have finally released the identifications of the officers involved in the murder. Although the officers’ races have not been stated, the Minnesota state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension named Yanez as the shooter.

His partner Joseph Kauser was also present at the time of the incident. Both officers have been on the force for four years and both have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.


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  1. RE Officer in Minnesota Police shooting may have been misidentified as Asian: Iam glad the mistake was quickly corrected. I am equally glad the some have become proactive also. This article was on my newsfeed.

    Asian Americans are crowdsourcing a letter to explain Black Live Matters to their families – The Next Web


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