Minneapolis police have come under scrutiny after 40-year-old Australian woman who called 911 was shot and killed Saturday night by a responding police officer, reported the Star Tribune.
According to the Tribune, Justine Damond, from Sydney, Australia, called police on Saturday night to report a possible assault in an alley. Two officers in a cruiser pulled into the alley and met Damond in her pajamas. Damond then went to the driver’s side and spoke with the driver. During this conversation, the officer in the passenger side pulled his weapon and fired at Damond through the driver’s side.
No weapon was found at the scene.
“Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S. just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday,” the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release. “At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.”
Although Minneapolis police officers are required to wear a body camera, the responding officers did not have theirs on, according to the release.
“The BCA’s investigation is in its early stages. More information will be available once initial interviews with incident participants and any witnesses are complete. … The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists,” said the news release.
Minneapolis police confirmed that the two officers involved are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
The absence of footage from the incident as well as details has troubled many people, including Damond’s soon-to-be stepson.
Zach Damond, 22, whose father, Don, 50, was set to marry to Justine in August, arrived at the scene on Sunday. Although Justine and Don were not yet married, Justine referred to herself as Damond on her personal website. Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk. Zach referred to Justine as his mother in a statement to the Star Tribune.
“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach said. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”
Leslie Redmond of the Minneapolis NAACP said she and other members of the NAACP “stand in solidarity with the family.”
Justine Damond’s website says she “originally trained as a veterinarian” and “has also studied and practiced yoga and meditation for over 17 years, is a qualified yoga instructor, a personal health and life coach and meditation teacher, embracing and teaching the neuro-scientific benefits of meditation.”
(Photo: Justine Damond via Instagram)
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