Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed the tragic killing of her boyfriend Philando Castile on Facebook 2016, was embroiled in assault charges and sentenced to a year of probation on Wednesday.
Reynolds, along with two other women, were convicted of assaulting another woman in St. Paul on Feb. 28, 2017. Reynolds’ attorneys argued she was not at the scene of the crime, despite court documents that said she assaulted the woman with a hammer.
Reynolds unintentionally rose to public notoriety after viewers across the world watched the harrowing death of Philando Castile by then-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez.
Reynolds had turned her livestream on due to an increasing amount of social media accounts of police brutality against black men and women.
Castile was pulled over during a routine traffic stop in the suburbs near Minneapolis and St. Paul. As he was reaching for his driver’s license, as requested by Yanez, Castile responsibly notified the officer he was armed but licensed to carry a gun. The tension rose in the officer as Castile proceeded to obtain his identification. Yanez subsequently shot him seven times at close range. He died later that night.
Reynold’s witnessed the tragic killing as her daughter sat in the backseat, unharmed. For the last year though, she has been embroiled in unrelated court proceedings.
On March 28, a jury convicted Reynolds of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault. She was acquitted of felony second-degree and third-degree assault. Karlowba Adams Powell, one of her attorneys, asked for administrative probation, meaning Reynolds would report to the court rather than a probation officer.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Elena Ostby denied the administrative probation request. However, the judge gave Reynolds leeway with the nature of the charges, citing potential trauma she may be suffering.
Reynolds was initially ordered to pay a $1,000 fine but Ostby offered an alternative. She challenged Reynolds to obtain her GED. “I know you want to better yourself,” Ostby said. “And I want to give you the tools to do that.” The $1,000 fine will be waived should Reynolds complete the task.
Reynolds was given a pass by Judge Ostby who waived nearly 90 days in the county workhouse for probation instead. She was ordered to 80 days of community service but was instead given the opportunity to participate in programs to better her mental health.
Ostby requested Reynolds undergo a chemical health assessment and anger management counseling. Ostby concluded that though Reynolds had not taken responsibility for her actions in relation to the charges, childhood trauma and other circumstances needed to be addressed.
Despite the ordeal last February, Reynolds began a non-profit, Black Love Twin Cities LLC., and has been planning the second-annual memorial for Philando Castile. She was tearful as she left the courtroom, with the weight of conflict in her voice as she made one of her only statements. “I feel like I’m misunderstood,” she said.