Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Minnesota woman killed by police: Why the answers may be months away

Minnesota woman killed by police: Why the answers may be months away

Police shot Ms Damond, originally from Sydney, through the door of their patrol auto as she approached them in an alley near her home, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported, citing three unnamed sources.

The officer who fired the shot has been identified by his lawyer as Mohammed Noor, who joined the force in 2015 - and was celebrated as the Fifth Precinct's first Somali officer.

Family of Damond say she initially called 911 after hearing a noise in a back alley.

However, police said the officer's body worn cameras and a camera in their squad auto had been switched off at the time of the shooting which may hamper the investigation.

Thomas Plunkett, who represents Noor, said the officer "extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event". He has two open complaints, from 2017 and 2016.

The officers' body cameras were not turned on at the time of the incident and the squad camera did not capture any video of the shooting, according to the BCA.

Damond, whose maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk, was engaged to be married and already had taken her fiance's last name, according to the newspaper.

"We're too far away, we can't go over and tell him we love him and how much we miss her", said Sterlace. Noor relaxed his grip when the woman said she had a previous shoulder injury, the lawsuit says. She saw no reason for a well-trained officer to see Damond as a threat.

Bicking said he favored a policy in which there would be less officer discretion for when the cameras should be turned on and off.

Neighbors said Damond was a "spiritual healer" who led meditation sessions with dozens of others in Minneapolis.

She said there are a lot of unanswered questions - many of which she's pushing to get the answers to as quickly as possible.

According to her Facebook page, where she goes by the name Justine Ruszczyk, she attended Manly High School and the University of Sydney.

"It is hard to fathom how to go forward without her in my life", Damond said Monday.

Justine Ruszczyk called 911 on Saturday night because she thought a sexual assault might be taking place in a back alley near her home, the source said. Castile's girlfriend, who was in the vehicle along with her four-year-old daughter, live-streamed the aftermath of the killing on Facebook. "Justine was one of the most loving people you would ever meet. we can't even imagine LHSC with out her". Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and the American Civil Liberties Union called for answers on why responding officers failed to turn on their body cameras when they arrived at the home of Justine Damond in a quiet, upper-middle-class neighbourhood shortly before midnight Saturday.

The mayor said she, like many others, wants to know why the officers' body cameras weren't on.

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