Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), issued the following statement regarding charges brought against the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July:

“We are gratified that charges including second degree manslaughter have been brought against Saint Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez for the shooting death of Philando Castile as well as the life-threatening danger Officer Yanez’s actions posed to an adult and four-year-old passenger.  Nevertheless, charges are not cause for applause or celebration — they are just the first, necessary step in ensuring accountability to the communities the police are sworn to protect and serve.

“While this is movement in the right direction, we will closely monitor the trial and outcome given recent cases in which officers have been convicted but received no prison time, have had their charges dropped, have been acquitted, or whose cases have yielded mistrials.”

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.