Castile’s girlfriend files defamation suit after ‘crack cocaine’ tweet

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Diamond Reynolds
Diamond Reynolds and Philando Castile

STAR TRIBUNE/TNS

MINNEAPOLIS – Diamond Reynolds, who live-streamed the aftermath of her boyfriend Philando Castile’s fatal officer-involved shooting in 2016, is suing the mayor of Elysian, Minn., for his 2017 tweet saying she would spend her settlement money on “crack cocaine.” 

The suit against Tom McBroom, who was a Rice County sheriff’s deputy at the time, alleges that his tweet was defamatory, false and was racially motivated. Reynolds is Black. 

“The defendant was alleging that plaintiff is an abuser of serious drugs, has an addiction that causes her financial stress, and is someone who bases her entire existence in terms of her costs of daily living on support from municipalities and other state of Minnesota entities,” the suit said. 

$800,000 settlement 

Reynolds was in the passenger seat and her 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat when Castile, who was driving, was fatally shot in 2016 by then-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. Yanez was tried and acquitted in June 2017 of manslaughter in Castile’s death. 

Reynolds received an $800,000 settlement in November 2017 from the city of St. Anthony, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust and the city of Roseville in connection with the shooting, which garnered worldwide attention. 

McBroom tweeted a few days after news of the settlement was made public. 

“She needs to come off County and State Aid now that she has some cash,” McBroom tweeted in 2017. “It’ll be gone in 6 months on crack cocaine.” 

The suit is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, a common placeholder amount in civil suits, in addition to attorney’s fees.

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