Police officer who shot Justine Damond identified | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

18.7.17

Police officer who shot Justine Damond identified

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Mohammed Noor has been an officer for two years and was the first Somali-American to serve in his precinct
Mohammed Noor has been an officer for two years 
and was the first Somali-American to serve in his precinct
The police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Australian woman in mysterious circumstances after she called 911 to report a disturbance behind her upscale Minneapolis home has been identified.
Mohamed Noor, who joined the department in March 2015, reached over and shot Justine Damond, 40, multiple times from the passenger seat of his squad car while she spoke to his colleague on the drivers side in a back alley.
Both officer's bodycams were off and the squad car camera not recording when Damond - who was in her pyjamas - was killed at around 11.30pm on Saturday, just a month before she was due to marry. 
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) - the state agency investigating the shooting - has so far kept tight-lipped on the circumstances that led to the death of the yoga and meditation teacher.
They have admitted that no weapons were recovered from the scene and  according to the Star Tribune witnesses to the shooting have described Damond approaching the police cruiser in the alley behind her house.
She was holding her cell phone and talking to an officer on the drivers side before she was shot.
The only concrete statement the BCA has made so far is to confirm that 'At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman'.

Community leader: Officer Noor (center) met with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (not pictured) in 2016 where she praised him for joining the police force 
Community leader: Officer Noor (center) met with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (not pictured) in 2016 where she praised him for joining the police force 
Justine Damond (pictured) was shot dead in her pyjamas by police in the United States, after calling 911 to report a disturbance in an alley near her home at South Minneapolis, Minnesota
Justine Damond (pictured) was shot dead in her pyjamas by police in the United States, after calling 911 to report a disturbance in an alley near her home at South Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pride: This picture dates from 2015 and shows Officer Noor being inducted into the Somali American Police Association 
Pride: This picture dates from 2015 and shows Officer Noor being inducted into the Somali American Police Association
Noor, 31, who is the first Somali-American police officer in his precinct, has in the past been personally praised by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
He also holds a degree in administration and economics. 
The Mayor demanded fast answers as the investigation began on Monday.
'I have the same questions you do, and I seek the same answers you seek,' said Mayor Hodges.
'This process is difficult, but I want to be sure we get this right.' 
He has already retained the services of a lawyer, who said on Monday that his client is devastated at the death of Damond.
'We take this seriously with great compassion for all persons who are being touched by this,' said attorney Tom Plunkett according to The Star Tribune.
Minneapolis Chief of Police Janeé Harteau issued a statement on Monday calling the death tragic.
'I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death,' said Harteau.
'I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I've asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.'
The driver of the squad car that pulled up in the alley behind the home Damond shared with her fiance has been identified as Matthew Harrity, a community service officer since 2016. 
On Monday morning the heartbroken stepson of Damond appeared outside his home and had harsh words for Officer Noor.
'Why? Why did you do it?,' said Zach Damon.
'He has no idea the impact that he had on thousands of people. No idea.'
'I hope that he wakes up every single day and thinks about it, and then I hope that he thinks about how he can be a better person because that's what she did every single day. And if you don't do that, then you're not even living, either, man.' 
Heartbroken: Zach Damond spoke to reporters outside his home on Monday morning and said he hopes the police officer who shot Justine Damond dead on Saturday night suffers 
Heartbroken: Zach Damond spoke to reporters outside his home on Monday morning and said he hopes the police officer who shot Justine Damond dead on Saturday night suffers 
Meeting and greeting: Mayor Hodges posted this picture of Officer Noor in his uniform to her Facebook page in 2016 along with a tribute to him 
Meeting and greeting: Mayor Hodges posted this picture of Officer Noor in his uniform to her Facebook page in 2016 along with a tribute to him 
According to Minneapolis Star Tribune, the website Minnesota PoliceClips has audio of an exchange between dispatch and the officers involved.
One officer says that he sees a 'female standing behind a building' and 'one down' from the same location before saying they are performing CPR. 
Police in Minneapolis are required to wear bodycams at all time, but they are not continually active and are manually switched on when an officer anticipates they will be needed.
It is not know why the squad car camera cannot be used in this case. 
The decision to equip all police with bodycams came after the black motorist Philando Castile was shot by an officer in 2016 in controversial circumstances. 
Noor, who joined the Minneapolis Police in March 2015, has had three complaints made against him in two years - including a lawsuit. 
Two are from 2017 and one from 2016 is closed and according to Lou Raguse of Kare 11 is marked 'not to be made public'. 
The lawsuit stems from a police call on May 25, 2017, when Noor and two other officers took a woman to hospital and she claimed that they carried out false imprisonment, assault and battery.
According to the ongoing lawsuit, the woman claimed that Noor 'grabbed her right wrist and upper arm' when moving her. 
Ms Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was engaged to marry American businessman Don Damond (right), 50, in August
Ms Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was engaged to marry American businessman Don Damond (right), 50, in August
Last year, Mayor Hodges wrote on her Facebook page that she 'wanted to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Boor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department.
'Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.'
On Saturday night, Damond had called 911 to attend a noise and possible assault in the alley, and was speaking to the two officers through the drivers side window when she was shot.
Neighbours told The Star Tribune they came out of their home to investigate the flashing lights and saw police trying to revive Ms Damond, who was lying on the ground. 
Ms Damond had a well-known stance against guns, and there was no way she would have been armed on Saturday night, her friend Hannah, 21, told the paper. 
She also explained Damond (nee Ruszczyk), who had already taken her fiance's last name often spoke about the benefits of Australia's tight gun control.
Despite her misgivings, Damond had elected to give up her life in Sydney for one in Minneapolis, where she lived with her fiance Don, who she described as the 'amazing, handsome hilarious, rockstar love of my life'.
In a Facebook post dating back to 2014, the woman describes her fiance Don as the 'amazing, handsome, hilarious, rockstar love of my life' (pictured)
In a Facebook post dating back to 2014, the woman describes her fiance Don as the 'amazing, handsome, hilarious, rockstar love of my life' (pictured)
Damond was due to marry fiance Don Damond, a former musician, in August, and become a step-mother to his 22-year-old son Zach.
At the time of the shooting Mr Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino, was away on business.
Her soon-to-be stepson Zach was reportedly also not at the home on Saturday night, returning on Sunday to discover the crime scene.
And just hours after the shooting he spoke to a local activist group, slamming police over the death of Ms Damond - who he called his 'best friend'.
'Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' Zach Damond said.
'I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I'm so done with all this violence. It's so much bulls**t. America sucks.
'She was a very passionate woman, she thought something bad was happening - and next thing you know they take my best friend's life.'
Ms Damond was shot in an alleyway on 51st Street in the Fulton neighbourhood (pictured)
Ms Damond was shot in an alleyway on 51st Street in the Fulton neighbourhood (pictured)
Just hours after the shooting Zach Damond (pictured), her heartbroken soon-to-be stepson, spoke with close friends of the woman and slammed police over her death
'Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' he said
Just hours after the shooting Zach Damond (pictured), her heartbroken soon-to-be stepson, spoke with close friends of the woman and slammed police over her death
Ms Damond had previously spoken out against US gun laws and said it was better in Australia, where there is tight gun control
Ms Damond had previously spoken out against US gun laws and said it was better in Australia, where there is tight gun control
When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway, wearing pyjamas
When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway, wearing pyjamas
Damond's Australian-based family released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday afternoon.
'This is a very difficult time for our family. We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this has happened,' the statement read.
'We will not make any further comment or statement and ask that you respect our privacy.' 
Neighbours say they saw officers desperately trying to resuscitate the woman after she was shot 


Neighbours say they saw officers desperately trying to resuscitate the woman after she was shot 
Ms Damond (pictured) was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others and regularly ran workshops, according to her website and social media accounts


Ms Damond (pictured) was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others and regularly ran workshops, according to her website and social media accounts
Damond attended Manly High School and the University of Sydney.
Her friend Matt Omo, an Australian, told the ABC he hoped something positive could come from the tragedy.
'I only hope this evolves into something that can make a positive impact for the world,' he said. 
Family friend Julia Reed addressed media on Monday, and said the woman would be 'undoubtedly' very missed. 
'She was treasured and loved - we will miss her dreadfully,' she said.
Ms Reed, who had known Damond for 32 years, said she would miss: '[Justine's] energy, intelligence, and the joy she brought to my life'.
Friend Marcus Ritchie mourned 'one of the world's most caring and sensitive souls', and called her 'a true inspiration to us all' in a Facebook post.  
'There is no way to justify this incident as Justine Ruszczyk was such a beautiful person,' he wrote.
'There will be a lot to answer for!'
Ms Damond's friends told US media she had often spoken out against gun violence and told them 'how much better' things were in Australia

Ms Damond's friends told US media she had often spoken out against gun violence and told them 'how much better' things were in Australia
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Damond residence in the hours after her death to hold a vigil for the woman (pictured)
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Damond residence in the hours after her death to hold a vigil for the woman (pictured)
Ms Damond's stepson shared images from the vigil, writing: 'people really showed love, thank you'
Ms Damond's stepson shared images from the vigil, writing: 'people really showed love, thank you'
Originally trained as a vet at the University of Sydney, she was 'supporting individuals and organizations to discover the power and potential within their own brains and hearts.'
Ms Damond regularly held sessions at the Lake Harriet Spritual Centre, with many of her talks recorded and uploaded to YouTube. 
She grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, with her father John the owner of a Dymocks bookstore at Warringah Mall and a prominent member of the community.
Hundreds gathered outside the Damond home in the hours after her death to hold a vigil for the woman, with her neighbours remembering a 'beautiful light'.
'This woman was a beautiful light, she was a healer, she was loved, she should be alive - she should still be here,' one friend said. 
Pictures showed a large group of people holding hands in a drive way, with colourful chalk drawings on the pavement - including a heart with 'Justine' written inside, and a red and a yellow rose laid on either side. 
Her stepson Zach shared images from the event in his Instagram story, writing: 'people really showed love, thank you'.
One image showed a sign which read: 'Why did you shoot and kill our neighbour and friend?'. 
The placard was surrounded by flowers, candles and a letter. 
Nearby, a tea towel with an image of Australia was hung on a brick wall.
One mourner drew a heart with 'Justine' written inside, and a red and a yellow rose was laid on either side
One mourner drew a heart with 'Justine' written inside, and a red and a yellow rose was laid on either side

WHY DID POLICE HAVE THEIR BODY CAMERAS TURNED OFF? 

- The use of body cameras, or portable video recorders (PVR), was initiated in Minneapolis during 2016.
- Police introduced the technology in an effort to reduce complaints about the behaviour of officers and also to ensure vital video evidence was captured.
- In Minneapolis, where Ms Ruszczyk died, the cameras must be manually switched on by police. They are automatic in other parts of the US.
- According to Minneapolis government's policy, the body cameras must be turned on by when they anticipate they may be involved in a certain situation.
- Situations where they must be switched on include: Traffic stops, arrests, physical confrontations, crimes in progress and suspicious person stops.
- It was last week revealed that the usage of body cameras among officers in Minneapolis was low as 4% in some areas when responding to 911 calls.
Hundreds of people attended the vigil outside Ms Damond's home on Sunday 
Hundreds of people attended the vigil outside Ms Damond's home on Sunday 
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Damond's death as quickly as possible
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Damond's death as quickly as possible
In a statement, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said an investigation was in its early stages, but that police did not have their body cameras on during the incident. 
Less than a week earlier it was revealed that officers across the city were using body cameras at what appeared to be a low amounts, despite their high-profile roll out. 
Under Minneapolis Police Department policy, officers 'should manually activate their PVR (portable video recorder) to Record Mode when reasonably safe and practical' in situations including 'suspicious person stops' and 'crimes in progress'.
In a statement, the Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said an investigation was in its early stages, but confirmed police did not have their body cameras on during the incident
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Damond's death as quickly as possible.
'As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,' Mayor Hodges said, the Star Tribune reports.
'There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to.
'My thoughts are now with everyone affected by this tragic incident, especially the deceased woman and her family.' 
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (pictured) said she was 'heartsick and disturbed by what occurred'
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (pictured) said she was 'heartsick and disturbed by what occurred'

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