'Justine didn't have to die': Harteau slams cop who shot 911 caller

In Minneapolis last weekend an Australian woman, Justine Damond, called 911 to report an assault ("Questions remain surrounding fatal Minnesota police shooting", Web, July 18).

One of the responding officers, Matthew Harrity, told investigators he had been startled by a loud noise just before the 40-year-old woman approached the auto and his partner Mohamed Noor fired the deadly shot, authorities said.

After the death of Justine Damond, the Minneapolis woman by a police officer, her family has hired Robert Bennett, the lawyer that represented Philando Castile's family after his similarly inexplicable killing. "This did not happen".

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".

"I can hear someone out the back and I - I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped", Ruszczyk tells the 911 operator, according to the transcript released by police.

"I can not imagination the impact this has had on Justine's family", she said.

While her family made no public announcement, they waved to marchers passing by and her fiancé, Don Damond, shed tears while greeting well-wishers.

Investigators said there is no footage of the shooting because neither officer activated their body cameras until after the shooting, which may have violated police department policy.

Damond reportedly met the officers in the alley, and, while speaking with the driver of the squad vehicle, was shot a single time in the abdomen by Noor - who, reportedly fearing an ambush, fired from the passenger side through the driver-side auto door.

She called around 11:27 p.m.to report what she believed was a sexual assault occurring in the alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues just south of 50th Street. He was one of only about 20 Somali police officers in Minnesota. In 2016, Castile was murdered by a police officer after a traffic stop.

Noor, who has been with the Minneapolis police force for 21 months, declined investigators' requests for an interview, the BCA said yesterday. The chief had been out of town on a personal trip and faced questions about her absence since the shooting.

Officers Matthew Harrity, who was driving, told investigators they were startled by a loud sound after arriving on the scene.

Noor has refused to speak to investigators from the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and he can't be compelled to.

Officers are still adjusting to the body cameras, she added, because the program started just eight months ago.

Harteau's comments were the first since the shooting, after police spokespersons said she was out of state on a personal trip.

Moving forward, Hodges said, she expects police to activate their body cameras as soon as they begin responding to a call.

"He has a story to tell that no one else can tell", she said.

As the officers approached the scene, Ruszczyk approached the driver's side window of the squad auto, authorities said.

She said she understands residents' fears of calling 911 and acknowledged the potential ramifications on community trust.

His hiring by the Minneapolis Police Department was hailed by the mayor as "a wonderful sign". She said she was concerned they had the wrong address, and gave it again.

Ms Damond's death is the third at the hands of Minnesota police in less than two years.

"We have a very robust field training officer programme".

  • Leroy Wright