New details have emerged in the case of a 40-year-old Australian woman who was shot and killed Saturday by a Minneapolis police officer just minutes after she called 911 to report an assault near her home.
Justine Damond, a native of Sydney who lived in Minneapolis with her fiancé, was killed in the alley behind her home while talking to police officers that had responded to the 911 call. Sources told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Officer Mohamed Noor, who was seated on the passenger side of his police cruiser, shot Damond through the driver’s side window while she was talking to the driver.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which investigates officer-involved shootings, confirmed Monday that officers were responding to a 911 call of a “possible assault.”
“At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” the BCA said in a news release. “BCA crime scene personnel located no weapons at the scene.”
The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time of the incident, and the cruiser dashcam did not capture footage of the shooting, according to police officials. The BCA said Monday that its investigation is in the “early stages” and that more information will be provided following interviews with witnesses. So far, BCA said, the investigation “does not determine whether a law enforcement agency policy was violated. That would be reviewed through the agency’s internal affairs process.”
Noor joined the Minneapolis Police Department in March 2015 as the first Somali police officer to patrol the 5th precinct on the city’s southwest side, reports the Star Tribune. He was sued in connection with an incident in May in which he and two other officers went to a woman’s home and took her to the hospital. The woman, whom the officers suspected of suffering from mental illness, claimed that Noor “grabbed her right wrist and upper arm,” re-injuring her existing shoulder condition.
Noor and the other officer have been placed on administrative leave, according to police.
Zach Damond, 22, whose father, Don, 50, was to marry Justine, said his future stepmother called 911 because she “heard a sound in the alley.”
“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Damond said, referring to Justine. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”
Department policy requires officers to wear body cameras any time they could “reasonably anticipate” that they will need to record an incident. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told the Star Tribune that the body camera program is fully deployed within the department but did not offer an explanation about why there is no footage of the shooting.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was “heartsick and deeply disturbed” by the shooting and urged investigators to release more information to her office.
“We have few facts at this point,” she said. “I want to know more. I call on the BCA to share as much information with all of us as quickly as they can.
“I have questions about why the bodycams weren’t on,” Hodges added.
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