I have known Manny Kapelsohn for decades. We have appeared together on numerous panels at national and international training seminars. We serve together on the advisory board of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. I consider him one of the top authorities on armed defense on the planet. He is a very experienced expert witness, and successfully served in that capacity in the recent trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez for the shooting death of armed citizen Philandro Castile.
In the August/September issue of Concealed Carry magazine, Manny presents a letter explaining why he profoundly disagrees with those who feel the officer panicked or overreacted, as so many have come to believe.
First, he points out, Castile never told the cop he had a license to carry, only that he had a firearm. Kapelsohn notes that Yanez calmly told Castile, “OK, don’t reach for it then.” When Castile disobeyed, Yanez shouted “Don’t pull it out! Don’t pull it out!” Only when this total of three explicit commands was disobeyed did the officer open fire.
Manny writes, “Yanez described the item Castile was pulling out as dark in color and thicker than a wallet. Officer Yanez said he believes it was a gun. In fact, Castile had a full-sized 9mm pistol in his front right shorts pocket. Castile’s brightly colored wallet with wide stripes of orange and white, did not look like a gun.”
Manny also disputed allegations that the officer’s gunfire recklessly endangered the woman and child who were in the car with Castile. He says, “When Officer Yanez fired, he didn’t back away from the car or use its B-pillar for protection; instead, he endangered himself by remaining in the opening of the car’s window so he could fire downward into Castile with as little danger as possible to Castile’s girlfriend in the front passenger seat, the child in the back seat and his fellow officer on the passenger side of the car. Yanez fired seven shots in a total elapsed time from first shot to last of about two seconds and ceased firing when he saw Castile’s hand being raised with the gun in it.”
Some who criticized the officer claimed he should have waited until the gun was out of Castile’s pocket. Disputes Kapelsohn, “An electronic timing test I video-recorded and testified about at trial showed that, while wearing the same style of shorts and starting with the same model of handgun just becoming visible from the front right shorts pocket, I could draw the gun and fire a shot out the car window in a time that averaged 0.28 seconds (slightly less than three tenths of a second). An officer cannot react to defend himself in that time span.”
Finally, Manny points out that the record shows that in training to get his carry permit, “…applicants were taught that they should keep their hands on the steering wheel, tell the officer they had a concealed carry permit (before telling the officer they were carrying a gun), make no sudden moves and follow the officer’s directions. Unfortunately, Mr. Castile did none of those things.”
I would like to thank Emanuel Kapelsohn for his testimony in the interest of justice (Yanez was acquitted), and thank Concealed Carry magazine for publicizing these important facts.