Lisa Cabrera | Current Events, News, Sports, Politics

Black Topics Of Interest and Current Events

The Death Of Alton Banks

Health officials warn fentanyl, and other synthetic forms of the drug, can be so powerful that just inhaling or touching a small speck can be fatal. Detectives are still working to connect the dots of his final day and figure out where exactly he was exposed to the fatal drug.

Young victims — some curious toddlers who ingest the drugs by mistake — account for only a small amount of opioid victims. In 2015, there were 51 victims under the age of five, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, a number that is still an increase from over a decade ago.

Alton Banks returned home from a neighborhood outing at the local pool on June 23 and started vomiting. Family members later discovered him unconscious and rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Miami Herald reported.

Investigators do not believe Alton purposefully took the drugs, but how he came into contact with it may remain a mystery. The CDC says that accidental overdoses from fentanyl are not uncommon. The drug is 80 times more potent than morphine, and it’s likely that Alton touched a surface—such as a towel—that the drug was on, either at the pool or on his way back to his home in Overtown.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office is still doing more testing, and a final report is pending. Authorities don’t generally disclose preliminary findings, but the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office agreed to comment publicly because of the unusual nature of the death and the need for tips in finding out how the boy might have come into contact with the drugs.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and is one of the most deadly painkillers out there. In fact, it’s even deadlier than heroin, PBS Newshour reported.

Since 2015, at least 31 people have died from overdosing on the drug. In addition to that statistic, Miami-Dade paramedics used Narcan to bring victims back to life 1,700 times in just the first nine months of 2016.

Alton’s mother, Shantell Banks, was informed of the preliminary findings late last week. She was too distraught to speak in depth on Monday but said her son was a “fun kid” who wanted to become an engineer and loved the Carolina Panthers.

The death comes against the backdrop of a staggering opioid crisis that has wreaked havoc across the country, with hundreds of South Florida drug users fatally overdosing in recent years. But illegal fentanyl and some of its synthetic cousins can be so powerful that just a speck, breathed in or absorbed through the skin, can fatally affect an unwitting victim.

Shantell Banks, the mother of Alton Banks, a 10-year-old Miami boy who may be among Florida’s youngest opioid victims, posted in a tribute to him on her Facebook page. Miami detectives are investigating how he might have a potent painkiller that was found in his system, according to preliminary toxicology reports.

The emergence of fentanyl on the streets has become a massive problem because some drug dealers lace heroin with it, and drug users are generally left unaware of it. Therefore, when they inject the heroin, they could possibly — and unknowingly — take a deadly dose.

Across Florida, in the first half of 2016, fentanyl and its analogs killed 853 people while contributing to 135 more deaths, state records show. Of those, only nine were under the age of 18.

Investigators do not believe the boy came into contact with the drug at his home. “We believe that it was somewhere between the park or the pool or the sidewalk, or maybe he touched something,” Rundle said.

FL Mayoral Candidate Congemi Says "Go Back To Africa and Obama Was Your Reparations"

A candidate for mayor in St. Petersburg, Fla. erupted at black reparations activists, telling them to “go back to Africa” during a mayoral debate.

A forum about opportunities for youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., turned racial when long-shot mayoral candidate Paul Congemi lashed out at an opponent’s supporters.

Paul Congemi, a white man who is in the mayoral race for St. Petersburg, fired back at his white campaign opponent Jesse Nevel, who centered his campaign on calling for government reparations for African-Americans.

He told the officers responding during an incident at a KFC, “Don’t touch me. I am running for mayor, and once I get elected you will be fired!,” according to a police report.

“Mr. Nevel, you and your people talk about reparations. The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama,” Congemi responded, pointing a figure at the audience as he spoke. “My advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!”

Nevel said “I was reluctant to engage this candidate last night and draw even more attention to his disturbing message. I regret not doing so, though. It is simply unacceptable to spew this kind of bigoted rhetoric.” Free speech should not compromise the dignity and respect of any person or community. This candidate spoke hateful words about African Americans and our LGBT community. He has the right to do so, but nothing about what he said is right. His comments just aren’t who we are.

Congemi claimed that his mother had only been without home health care for about a day and a half as he switched providers. Congemi’s mother had serious bed sores all the way down to her tail bone. She was hospitalized and Congemi was arrested. Even in the middle of the fallout, after posting a $10,000 bail, Congemi told reporters that he would keep on with his political aspirations. Those charges were ultimately dropped, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Despite the rumblings over Congemi’s actions and his stances, Congemi insisted he is not going anywhere. And, apparently, we should take his word for it.

His modus operandi will apparently remain the same this time around, despite criticisms and backlash over his comments at the forum. And even if he loses, he says he won’t stop. Nevel’s campaign slogan is “Unity Through Reparations.” He is backed by a group called the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which pushes for reparations as a way to alleviate racial inequality. The group also calls for solutions to racially charged issues in society, such as gentrification and police brutality.

Congemi told the Post that he believes his rival is “obviously” a “self-hating white man” for his policies, adding that he has “nothing against African-Americans who are doing their best here in America.”Congemi added that he had been a lifelong Democrat until former President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, prompting him to switch political parties. He said he is also a supporter of President Trump.

Though he is facing accusations of racism for his comments, Congemi said Wednesday that he will not drop out of the mayoral race. “I’ll run again in 2019 and, God willing, if I’m alive in 2021, I’ll run then too,” he said. “I intend to keep running and running and running.”

His comments were directed at Nevel, who is white. He is the national chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, a group that organizes white support for black-led community social justice. It is an organization that works with the main Uhuru organization, which has many African-American members, including founder and activist Omali Yeshitela.

Jocelyn Savage Deny Being Held Against Her Will By R Kelly

The parents of one woman aged 21 told BuzzFeed that their daughter has been “brainwashed” by Kelly since she met him following a concert in March 2015. The woman, who identified herself as Jocelyn Savage to TMZ Monday, is reported to have moved in with Kelly and broken off contact with her parents.

“It was as if she was brainwashed. She looked like a prisoner. It was horrible. I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults,” J. said. “They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”

“You know the reason why Ms. Jocelyn Savage didn’t tell you where her location at? She’s not allowed to tell you her location,” Savage said. “Mr. R. Kelly, if you want to file a lawsuit, you should’ve filed it yesterday. I’m waiting on you. File the lawsuit.”

“I’m 21, I’m about to be 22 in five days and I just mainly want to say that I’m in a happy place with my life and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that,” Savage said. “It just came to a point where it definitely has gotten out of hand, so I just want everybody to know, my parents and everybody in the world that, I am totally fine. I’m happy where I’m at and everything is okay with me.”

Earlier, Mack, Jones, and McGee said there are at least six women living in properties rented by the R&B star in Chicago and Atlanta. The ‘guest houses’ where the women are kept are near his home in suburban Atlanta, and his apartment at Trump Tower in Chicago.

Officers in Georgia and Illinois conducted welfare checks for one of the women after receiving a request from her parents, TMZ reported. However, the woman told officers she “did not want to be bothered with her parents because her father was threatening people.”

R Kelly Deny Claims Of Holding Young Women In A Sexual Cult

Reuters Video: Singer R. Kelly denies cult claims

The singer R. Kelly has denied claims that he keeps a household of young women in a “cult” atmosphere. The 50-year-old has been accused of running a “cult” of young aspiring female musicians, living in a series of houses in Atlanta and Chicago, and forbidden from using their own mobile phones. Two sets of parents have gone to the police to try and win back their daughters, who approached the 50-year-old with the aim of furthering their music careers, and ended up estranged from their families. The police have investigated, but the girls insist they are in love with Kelly. And, as they are over the age of consent, there is nothing that law enforcement can do. Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, defended the singer. “Mr Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” she said, in a statement emailed to The Telegraph.

As per TMZ, a rep for Kelly stated the following: “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.” Buzzfeed News has reported that the parents of a 19-year-old girl had tried to launch an investigation into the matter, fearing for their daughter’s life.

Chicago-born Kelly, best known for the hit I Believe I Can Fly, was sexually abused by men and women, including relatives, from the age of seven to 15. When he was 27 he married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, lying on the marriage certificate to say she was 18. He has been tried for child pornography, and found not guilty on all accounts.

“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him,” Mensch wrote in the statement, according to TMZ. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

Earlier today, BuzzFeed published an explosive story alleging that R. Kelly leads what parents describe as a “cult” of young women who live with him and are not allowed to contact their families and friends. The story–by Jim DeRogatis, who has been reporting on Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct for years–alleges that Kelly emotionally manipulates and physically abuses the women, some of whom are aspiring musicians who entered the musician’s orbit because they believed he would help their careers. The youngest of the women in the story began communicating with Kelly when she was 17 and moved into one of his rental properties as soon as she reached the legal age of consent.

According to the report, Kelly imposes strict rules of conduct on young women, including restrictions on their ability to contact others. (July 17, 2017) According to the report, Kelly imposes strict rules of conduct on young women, including restrictions on their ability to contact others. (July 17, 2017)

TMZ has also confirmed that authorities in Chicago and Atlanta have conducted welfare checks at the request of one of the women’s parents; however, there were no charges filed, as the women told police “she did not want to be bothered with her parents because her father was threatening people.” The allegations Kelly is facing are just another among a long and disturbing list.

On Monday afternoon, after the report was published, the family of one of Kelly’s alleged victims held a press conference where they accused the singer of holding their 21-year-old daughter against her will. “Stockholm syndrome, that’s what my daughter has right now,” the father of the girl said. Her mother added, “My daughter is severely brainwashed; she’s brainwashed to the point where she says anything he asks her to say. She’s not the same that we knew.”

R Kelly Accused Of Leading Young Women Into A Sexually Abusive Cult

DeRogatis’ report goes into more detail about another young, aspiring singer from Florida who met Kelly when she was just 17 and recently had breast augmentation on his dime, and includes audio recordings of the 19-year-old’s conversations with the singer. Multiple parents have attempted to get law enforcement involved, but so far no major investigation has been undertaken.

On Friday, July 14, after Kelly and the Florida woman had been asked for comment on this story, Angelo said he got a surprise phone call from his daughter, who invited him to come to see Kelly perform in Indiana on Saturday. Wary of Kelly’s motivations, Angelo said he declined the invitation. He also is angry over the other surprise news from his daughter: She said Kelly had recently paid for her to have breast enhancement surgery.

“My thing was I trusted. I have never been in the music industry before, ever,” Theresa said. “He is a lyrical genius — he is R. Kelly! And the fact is he went to court, he was never found guilty — he was acquitted — and we were led to believe there was no truth in it. Now I got all of these people asking about why my daughter is there, telling me, ‘All of that, the charges against Kelly, was true.’ Well, how come you didn’t tell me that before?”

DeRogatis’ report for Buzzfeed focuses on two Georgia parents’ quest to free their 19-year-old daughter from Kelly’s clutches. The woman and her mother met the singer backstage at a show in Atlanta in hopes of advancing her own singing and dancing career. However, her parents now say they haven’t seen her since December of 2016 and have been reaching out to the FBI in hopes of finding legal recourse to save their daughter. They’ve received just two text messages from their daughter in that time, one in which she says she wishes she could spend Christmas with them and another reading, “Happy Mother’s Day from me and Rob.”

Two other parents are fighting to get their daughter back. The parents of an aspiring professional singer from Florida said their daughter met Kelly when she was 17 years old, and she moved into one of his rental properties once she was over the age of legal consent. (BuzzFeed News verified their identities and full names, but is withholding the alleged victim’s full name and her parents’ last name to protect her privacy. Her mother asked to be called by her middle name, Theresa, for the same reason.)

Theresa said she initially let her daughter spend time with Kelly because it was “supposed to be a music relationship.” She now regrets that decision.“My thing was I trusted. I have never been in the music industry before, ever,” Theresa said. “He is a lyrical genius — he is R. Kelly! And the fact is he went to court, he was never found guilty — he was acquitted — and we were led to believe there was no truth in it. Now I got all of these people asking about why my daughter is there, telling me, ‘All of that, the charges against Kelly, was true.’ Well, how come you didn’t tell me that before?”The Florida singer first met Kelly when her parents took her to see him perform at Funk Fest in Orlando on April 18, 2015.

Jim DeRogatis is a Chicago-based music journalist and critic. He is an assistant professor in the English Department at Columbia College Chicago; the co-host of “Sound Opinions,” the weekly rock-n-roll talk show originating at WBEZ Chicago and heard on some 125 Public Radio stations nationwide as well as on podcast at, and the the author of nine books about music.

Is Sammy Sosa Latest Skin Bleaching A Sign Of Self-Hate?

So far, Sosa hasn’t commented about the reaction to his appearance. But CNN commentator Keith Boykin offered some wise words about the controversy: “I don’t know what Sammy Sosa is going through, but the most important lesson I’ve learned in life is to love yourself for who you are,” he tweeted. If companies stopped trying to profit from the desire for light skin driven by racial oppression, Boykin’s advice might be easier to follow.

American consumers aren’t always aware that, for example, a global brand like Unilever, which advertises its Dove brand with statements about loving yourself, sells a product called Fair & Lovely in other parts of the world. Unilever’s website states that “It is the no. 1 fairness cream in India and is popular throughout Asia.” Similarly, some products from Nivea carry labels on the bottles that promote a “10X whitening effect.”

“It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” Sosa said during a Univision network event, reported ESPN. “It’s a cream that I have, that I use to soften , but has bleached me some. I’m not a racist, I live my life happily.”

Sammy Sosa was a great hitter in Major League Baseball in the 1990’s and early part of the 2000’s, whether he took performance-enhancing steroids or not. Since his retirement from baseball in 2009,  Sammy Sosa skin color lightening to a whiter shade has been keeping him relevant in the news.

Lighter skin and white people are heavily promoted in America.  For example, regular advertisements for computers, for clothing, for banking services all show light-skinned women playing, frolicking, cooking and being otherwise ‘fresh’ (another code word for lighter-skinned). Two side-by-side billboards on Oxford Street for a casino show African men surrounded by and having fun with white and light-skinned women.”

Sammy Sosa, the former Chicago Cubs slugger who had a 13-year run with a team-record of 545 home runs and three seasons of 60-plus homers, is in the limelight again, and not for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Sosa’s recent television appearance in Panama was captured by Panamanian TV personality Nairobi Dacosta, who uploaded a photo on her Twitter of the former Major League Baseball (MLB) player looking “downright vampiric,” NESN reports.

The ex-Cubs slugger, who originally had a medium-to-dark skin tone, was said to be sporting a completely new complexion — white. Sosa was previously thought to have a skin condition that caused this drastic change in his face pigmentation. The former athlete’s “new face” was first spotted in the 2009 Latin Grammys in Las Vegas when Sosa showed up to the awards show with a lighter visage.

The dramatic change in pigmentation had baseball fans, sports commentators, dermatologists, and cultural analysts wonder what could have been the cause of the skin condition, says Time. But it turns out it was all cosmetic.  According to the Associated Press (AP), Sosa said he is not trying to look like the late pop star Michael Jackson and is not suffering from any skin illness. He stated instead that his skin color was due to a longtime use of a cosmetic “skin cream,” in combination with bright TV lights make his face appear whiter than it actually is. “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” said the ex-Cubs slugger in a 2009 interview with “Primer Impacto,” a program of the Univision Spanish Network. “It’s a cream that I have, that I use to soften, but has bleached me some.

I’m not a racist, I live my life happily.” Sammy Sosa’s skin pigmentation change.  The photo that once caused so much public turmoil during the 2009 Latin Grammys has now been replaced by the recently posted photo on Twitter of the former baseball player.  His dark complexion is now gone and replaced with a “ghost-like” skin color that has not been well received by critics. Nairobi Dacosta with a “lighter” Sammy Sosa In Panama TV Studios. Nairobi Dacosta Twitter “Skin bleaching” is a cosmetic treatment that targets skin discolorations in order to even out the color of the skin. These cosmetic treatments are available over the counter and by prescription.

While it is not exactly known if Sosa applies the skin lightener to his entire body, those who do so could risk mercury poisoning. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends patients who use these skin whitening creams to discontinue use of all these products if they are not used at the direction of a dermatologist. The ex-Cubs slugger has not revealed the name of the mystery cream but did say he bought it in Europe. He also previously revealed in a Chicago Tribune interview that he had undergone a skin rejuvenation treatment — a treatment that is very common among women. “I’m going to market it, I’m a businessman,” said Sosa, ESPN reports.

Sosa, who retired in 2007, has tried to keep himself out of the spotlight, but it looks like some sunlight might do the former MLB player some good.

The Police Shooting of Dejuan Guillory

Dejuan Guillory was 27 years old. Everyone who knows him calls him sweet, hardworking and charming. Everyone who ever laid eyes on him objectively says that he was good-looking. He loved his children. He had a troubled past that he had put behind him, and he had a promising future as a concrete contractor.

Guillory’s family alleges that he was shot four times in the back on July 6 and was unarmed. However, police say that Guillory, who was previously accused of shooting at an officer, was shot during an “altercation” with the deputy.

In it, Long says that Brown said, that she and Mr. Guillory were on a four-wheel vehicle late at night, they were four wheeling…they were riding on a gravel road… and they passed an officer who was on the side of the road. The officer stopped them and asked for their IDs, which they didn’t have.

In the incident that led up to Guillory’s death, police say that an Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy “responded to a report of an attempted burglary just before 4:10 a.m. today near Chad Lane, located about four miles south of Mamou” and made contact “with the suspect, DeJuan Guillory, 27, of Mamou,” according to the television station.

At one point before being shot, “Guillory was begging for his life. Guillory was saying please don’t shoot me, I have three kids. He was very afraid,” alleged the lawyer, who added that Brown claims the officer told Guillory at one point, “Shut the f*ck up or I’ll shoot you.”

Sheriff’s deputy Paul Lafleur was responding to a report of an attempted burglary sometime after 4 a.m. when he encountered Guillory and his girlfriend, 21-year-old, Dequince Brown. The Root reported that the couple were on a date and riding an all-terrain vehicle when they approached a car that was out “in the middle of nowhere” and realized that the person inside was a police officer. It is unclear whether Lafleur was in a marked police car, and whether the couple approached the car first, or if Lafleur was there waiting for the alleged burglar.

On Facebook, Guillory wrote that he was single, although he had posted numerous photos of himself with a woman and children. Most of his posts, including videos and photos, dealt with his children.

Brown’s lawyer said she told him the confrontation between Guillory and the officer “started out verbal. The officer was in Guillory’s face giving him grief about not having his ID on his person, and Guillory was arguing back… the officer wasn’t satisfied with the answer. The officer was in his face, pointing his finger.”

DeJuan’s sister, Kiera Guillory, former law enforcement officer, says that State Police at the local police station were unhelpful in the family’s search for DeJuan’s body. Both DeJuan’s sister and mother worked in law enforcement in the area for over 22 years.

So when a sheriff’s deputy stood over Guillory in an isolated road in the backwoods of Louisiana, fired multiple shots into his back and left him there to die, he didn’t kill Guillory, he transformed him. Before Guillory took his last breath on a dusty, Southern road just outside the tiny town of Mamou, La., he was a man with a future moving away from his past. He was a loving father, a smile and promise.

The deputy, who was injured during the altercation, was transported to a local hospital, where he was listed Thursday in stable condition, Moreau said. The deputy’s identity has not been released.

There are several questions as to why LaFleur was parked in the middle of nowhere at 4 a.m. The Police Department says that he was answering a burglary call. It is unclear whether LaFleur was on duty, in police uniform or even in a marked car, but both Guillory and his girlfriend recognized LaFleur as an officer. The officer allegedly asked both parties for identification, and when they objected, LaFleur ordered them off the four-wheeler. Doran says that Guillory and the officer got into a heated argument, and after a brief altercation, LaFleur told Brown and Guillory to get on the ground.

KATC-TV is reporting that Guillory had been arrested in 2015, accused of stealing an ATM with a backhoe from Citizen’s Bank in Mamou and firing a gun at a responding deputy’s patrol car. At the time, police said they found 12 shell casings shot from an AR 15 assault rifle near the backhoe.

But Joe Long, Brown’s attorney, said in an interview with PenPoint News that Guillory was unarmed and lying face down, with his hands behind his back, as he was instructed to do by Lafleur. In a recorded interview, Brown told her attorney that Guillory was pleading for his life and said, “Please don’t shoot me, I have three kids.” After then, the first shot was fired, according to Brown’s attorney.

Doran told The Root that the deputy went back to his car and stayed there for an extended period of time. However, during their altercation, LaFleur happened to drop his police radio, and it was Brown who called for help, using LaFleur’s radio.

According to Long, Brown then jumped on the officer’s back to prevent him from killing her boyfriend and bit LaFleur, which resulted in him getting injured. LaFleur then fired three more shots at Guillory. DeQuince Brown was arrested on attempted first-degree attempted murder of a police officer.

The deputy had been responding to an attempted burglary in the area of Chad Lane when he encountered Dejuan Guillory, Moreau said. During an ensuing altercation between Guillory and the deputy, Guillory was shot.

“They were both on the ground. Guillory was on the ground, on his belly, his hands behind his back, and the officer had a gun trained at Guillory’s back, maybe a foot or two from Guillory’s body. They were still arguing back and forth but Guillory was on the ground as directed. His hands were behind his back. He was not resisting. All of a sudden, a shot rang out,” Long told Pen Point News.

The Murder of Philando Castile


Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile’s car over in Falcon Heights, a suburb near Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the officer later said he thought Castile matched the description of a suspect in a robbery. The stop quickly escalated.

In a statement Friday, the St. Paul Public Schools system said they continued “to remember and mourn the loss of ‘Mr. Phil,” calling him a beloved employee.

“My son loved this city, and this city killed my son,” Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie, said as she stood on a corner outside the courthouse afterward. “And a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?”

Most of those 29 officers who were found guilty on any count were convicted of a lesser offense, he said. Five of the 29 officers found guilty on at least one count were convicted of murder. Including Yanez, 33 officers were not convicted; Yanez is the 17th officer acquitted after a jury trial. Another 20 criminal cases are still pending, Stinson said.

An audio recording captured Castile telling Yanez he had a gun in the car, and the officer telling Castile not to reach for it. Seconds later, Yanez opened fire.

After five days and more than 25 hours of deliberation, the jury decided that the state had not met its burden for a conviction. Yanez would have faced up to 10 years under Minnesota law if he had been convicted. The jury that determined Yanez’s fate consisted of seven men and five women. Two jurors were black. Following the acquittal, a jury member told the press that the specific wording of the law regarding culpable negligence was the main factor among many leading to the verdict.

John J. Choi, the prosecutor who announced the charges against Officer Yanez, said on Friday that “this verdict brings a lot of hurt and pain and deep-seated frustration for a lot of people in this community.” Mr. Choi said he was disappointed in the verdict, and believed that Mr. Castile “did nothing that justified the taking of his life.”

Prosecutors also charged Yanez with endangering the lives of Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter, who was also riding in the car. On Friday, Reynolds said she was “incredibly disappointed” with the verdict, saying that Castile cooperated and was stopped only because “he had a wide nose and looked like a suspect” to Yanez.

Castile was one of 963 people who police officers fatally shot last year, according to a Washington Post database tracking such shootings. The fatal encounter in Minnesota was among the most high-profile last year because Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, broadcast the moments after Castile’s shooting online, graphic footage that quickly circulated and drew international attention to the Twin Cities suburbs.

Police said about 500 protesters had gathered on the interstate late Friday, closing it to traffic. The Minnesota State Patrol said demonstrators would be arrested if they did not leave the interstate, and early Saturday, the agency said 18 protesters had been arrested.

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Mr. Gray, the defense lawyer, said Officer Yanez had to react quickly to what he believed was an imminent threat. He said Officer Yanez smelled marijuana, believed that Mr. Castile matched the description of a recent robbery suspect and saw him grabbing a gun.

Yanez was the first officer in Minnesota charged for an on-duty shooting since at least 2005, according to Philip M. Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who studies arrests of officers and has kept data since that year. The Star Tribune newspaper reported that Yanez is believed to be the first officer charged with killing a civilian in the state’s modern history.