The girlfriend of Philando Castile has received an apology as part of her dropping her defamation lawsuit against a small-town mayor and former law enforcement officer whose tweet in 2017 said she would spend her settlement money on crack cocaine, attorneys said Thursday.
Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed the aftermath of Castile’s fatal shooting by a police officer in 2016, contended in her lawsuit that a tweet from Tom McBroom, the current mayor of Elysian, was defamatory, false and racially motivated. Reynolds is Black, and McBroom is white.
Reynolds was in the passenger seat and her 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat when Castile was shot while behind the wheel by then-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. Yanez was 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.
McBroom tweeted a few days after the settlement was made public: “She needs to come off County and State Aid now that she has some cash. It’ll be gone in 6 months on crack cocaine.”
Attorneys on both sides of the defamation suit, which had sought more than $50,000 in damages, declined to reveal terms of the settlement — including whether Reynolds received any money from McBroom — other than releasing his apology to Reynolds.
“I want to apologize to you for my remarks I made when you were awarded money for the loss of … Mr. Castile. From everything I have read since, he was a good person and well liked within his community and school. You lost a loved one and your daughter witnessed a violent act that no young child should ever have to witness.
“My comments were hurtful towards someone I did not know and should never have been written. I hope one day you will forgive me for those ignorant words. I am not the person who has hate for anyone. I hope, pray, and wish nothing but the best for you and your daughter moving forward.”
McBroom was a Rice County sheriff’s sergeant at the time of the tweet, then was demoted to deputy in February 2018 for misconduct that included the tweet, according to court documents. His attorney, Robert Fowler, said Thursday that McBroom has left law enforcement.
McBroom was a City Council member when he sent the tweet and was elected mayor a year later, in November 2018.