Minneapolis police chief says Justine Damond 'didn't have to die'

Posted July 21, 2017

All wanted answers from the officer involved and Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau, but none were forthcoming.

"Help us, help us hold our unjust system accountable without fanning the flames of anti-Somali fear or Islamophobia", she continued, referring to the heritage of the officer who killed Damond.

Officer Mohamed Noor allegedly shot Damond near her home after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

Those concerned calls ended in tragedy on Saturday night after two Minneapolis police officers, Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity, responded to the scene.

The family, led by Damond's father John Ruszczyk, said in a statement: "We're here to come together as a community around our lovely Justine to honor her life, share our love and mourn her death".

Cameras on the officers and in the auto were not switched on and the police chief said the body cameras should have been activated.

Her death has been met with shock and anger in the USA and in Australia, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described it as "inexplicable".

Chief Janeé Harteau made her first comments on the case late Thursday afternoon after returning from a backpacking vacation.

Mr Bennett hopes the shooting death of the vivacious, peace-loving spiritual healer could finally force action into stopping America's rampant police shootings of innocent people. She said she has nothing to question on the credibility of the BCA, which is investigating the incident. But Plunkett said ongoing investigations prevented the officer from saying any more.

Bennett told local CBS affiliate WCCO that the Damond family hired him because they are seeking justice and changes to police protocol. "It's about the police chief killing us", Thompson said.

"In the meantime, we ask that you give us time to grieve in private and to support each other at this very hard time". She was shot when she approached the police vehicle that was responding.

Harteau cautioned that the actions of Noor, the officer who killed Damond, do not reflect the entire department. Castile was fatally shot by a suburban officer a year ago.

The shooting was not captured on police body cameras, and Noor has not spoken to investigators.

In a blog post, Hodges calls that unacceptable.

The Minneapolis police chief has said the shooting of Australian woman Justine Damond "shouldn't have happened" and that it was the result of the actions and the flawed judgement of one officer. I am no expert in police procedure, let alone handguns, but this strikes me as beyond unusual, as well as highly unsafe (to the other officer's hearing, if nothing else).

Harrity said that he and Noor saw a man, estimated to be between 18 and 25, bicycling in the area before the shooting.

Other police shootings around the US - particularly the killings of black men by officers - led to calls for change that included everything from bias training for officers to upgraded technology.

Dayton said it's time for the state to take a closer look at its police body camera rules.

"We are in constant contact with the Australian Government, and representatives of the US Government and Minnesota State authorities".

Minneapolis attorney Robert Bennett is representing Ruszczyk's family, including her relatives in Australia, as well as Damond. That is what Damond reported to 911 when she called. He says Noor has no plans to talk with investigators.

In a statement earlier this week, the agency said Noor's attorney "did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible".

- With files from the Associated Press.

At the park, Damond's friends and family spoke about what must be done to prevent this from ever happening again.

"She obviously was not armed", Bennett said.

Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was fatally shot by a police officer in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop last July. The officer was acquitted in June of manslaughter and other charges.

A little more than a year before Ruszczyk's killing at the hands of police, Philando Castile was driving with his girlfriend and her daughter when he was pulled over in Falcon Heights, almost 9 miles from Minneapolis.

Noor could still be forced to if police ordered a "garrity" - where an employee can be ordered to give a statement.

That statement can not be used against him in any criminal investigation.

The Minneapolis Police Department squad cars are adorned with the lines, "To protect with courage" and "To serve with compassion", Harteau said.