New details have emerged in a tragic and mysterious police shooting in Minneapolis that left Australia-native Justine Damond, 40, dead late on Saturday night after she called 911 to report what she believed was a sexual assault happening in the alley behind her house.
Speaking to investigators on Tuesday, Officer Matthew Harrity, said that he and partner Mohamed Noor had responded to Damond’s call about a possible assault near her house at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Harrity, who had been driving the police car, said that he had been caught off-guard by a loud sound near the police car. When Damond approached the driver’s side window of the car, Harrity said, Noor, who was riding in the passenger seat, brandished his weapon and opened fire on her, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. After Noor shot Damond, Harrity said, they got out of their vehicle to provide Damond with medical attention.
On Wednesday, officials also revealed that Damond had placed two calls to 911 — she’d become concerned that police had the wrong address when they didn’t immediately respond, The Associated Press reported. Authorities also released transcripts of Damon’s call to 911. “I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped,” Damond told the 911 operator, adding that she thought the person had yelled “help.” She continued, saying, “I don’t think she’s enjoying it,” and told the operator the person seemed “distressed.” Her initial call was placed at 11:27 p.m. and eight minutes later, after police had yet to arrive, she called 911 a second time to confirm that they had the correct address.
Despite being equipped with a squad car camera and body cameras, the officers did not activate them until after the shooting. According to Damond’s fiancé, so far police have refused to tell him or Damond’s family any details about the shooting. Noor, the officer accused of shooting Damond, has thus far refused to speak publicly about the case.
In an interview on Wednesday on Australia’s Today show, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed disbelief at the police narrative.
“How can a woman out in the street in her pajamas seeking assistance from police be shot like that?” he asked. “It is a shocking killing.”
Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges expressed frustration over the accused officer’s silence, but noted that they could not “compel Officer Noor to make a statement.”
Police had reportedly been reviewing its policy on body cameras before Damond’s death. According to Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo, the police department was eight months into a department-wide rollout of cameras, and that currently they were reviewing how often police officers actually used them.
Meanwhile, as family members grieve and grasp for answers, a portrait of Damond has emerged, showing her as a caring and loving person. A recent video of Damond obtained by The Guardian shows the meditation teacher and life coach rescuing ducks from a storm drain near her home, and then reuniting the family of ducks that had been separated. It’s a truly poignant moment that underscores the senseless tragedy of her death. Watch the video below.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.