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Sanders: ‘Major reforms’ needed for lethal force involving black Americans

The Hill logo The Hill 6/18/2017 Julia Manchester
Sanders: ‘Major reforms’ needed for lethal force involving black Americans © Provided by The Hill Sanders: ‘Major reforms’ needed for lethal force involving black Americans

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday critiqued the "profoundly broken" U.S. criminal justice system, following the acquittal of the Minnesota police officer who shot 32-year-old Philando Castile five times at a traffic stop last year

"Our criminal justice system is profoundly broken and has failed African Americans over and over again," Sanders tweeted Saturday. "We need major reforms including making certain that lethal force is the last response, not the first response."

Sanders is a vocal advocate of criminal justice reform. Last year Sanders spoke out against Castille's death, as well as the death of Alton Sterling.

Police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was charged with manslaughter, was found not guilty on Friday. Defense attorneys claimed Yanez felt that his life was in danger and shot Castile after he told the officer he was armed.

Prosecutors said Yanez never saw the gun, and had plenty of other options besides shooting Castile.

The video of Castile's death went viral after his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, seconds after Castile was shot by the officer.

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