Jeronimo Yanez signed a separation agreement with the city of St. Anthony on Monday, agreeing to leave the Police Department in exchange for $48,500 after being acquitted three weeks ago in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile.
"In order to serve the public interest and quickly assure the public that Officer Yanez will not continue as a St. Anthony police officer, the City has entered into a separation agreement that ends all employment rights of Officer Yanez at the City," said a statement posted on the city's website at the close of Monday's business day. "Since Officer Yanez was not convicted of a crime, as a public employee, he would have appeal and grievance rights if terminated.
"A reasonable voluntary separation agreement brings to a close one part of this horrible tragedy. The City concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed."
According to a copy of the agreement supplied by the city's attorney in the matter, Yanez will receive a lump sum of $48,500 minus applicable deductions and tax withholdings.
He also will receive payment for up to 600 hours of accrued personal leave. The agreement did not note how much time he has accrued.
Yanez was making $72,612.80 a year when he fatally shot Castile on July 6, 2016, during a traffic stop on Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights.
Yanez initialed and wrote Monday's date on each corner of the five-page agreement, and he also signed the last page, along with City Manager Mark Casey.
"Nothing in this Agreement is intended to be, and nothing will be deemed to be, an admission of liability by the City or you that either party has violated any state or federal statute, local ordinance or principle of common law, or that either party has engaged in any wrongdoing," the agreement said.
The agreement noted Yanez's official "date of separation" as June 30 and said he was given 10 days to consider and sign the agreement.
He also has 15 days to rescind the agreement in writing, delivered either by hand or certified mail to the city manager.
The agreement also releases the city "forever" from "all liability and damages and from all claims" by Yanez regarding Castile's death.
"This release covers both claims that you may know about and those you may not know about, and is binding on your heirs, successors, and assigns," the agreement said. "… [Y]ou agree and understand that this Agreement waives all claims and rights to monetary, equitable, or other recovery for any such legal claims to the fullest extent permitted by law."
The city had issued a statement following Yanez's acquittal on June 16 stating its intention to offer him a "voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career."
Phone and e-mail messages left with Casey, Mayor Jerry Faust and two City Council members were not immediately returned.
Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Council Member Jan Jenson declined to comment and deferred to Casey's work phone number and e-mail address, even though the city announced the news a minute before closing its offices for the day.
Council Member Hal Gray wrote in an e-mail that the agreement will not require a vote by the council.
Yanez, 29, was hired by the city in November 2011.
Last year, he stopped Castile, 32, for a nonworking brake light and in order to check whether he was the suspect in a recent armed robbery. (He wasn't.) Castile voluntarily told Yanez that he was in possession of a gun, and within seconds, the officer fired seven shots, killing Castile. Castile had a permit to carry the gun, which was later found in his front right shorts pocket.
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter, then 4, were in the car at the time of the shooting. Reynolds used her cellphone camera to livestream the shooting's aftermath on Facebook, bringing worldwide attention to his death.
A Ramsey County jury heard five days of testimony and deliberated for five days before acquitting Yanez of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
The verdict set off public demonstrations and criticism, compelling Judge William H. Leary III, who presided over the trial, to write a letter to jurors in support of their service.
Last month, the city of St. Anthony announced a nearly $3 million settlement with Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, paid for through the city's coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708