Australian woman fatally shot by Minneapolis police officer


Australian woman fatally shot by Minneapolis police officer

Anthony Bertolt

18 July 2017

Late Saturday night, two Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers responded to a 911 call from 40-year-old Justine Ruszcyk, an Australian woman who reported what she thought was a sexual assault in an alleyway in her neighborhood.

Soon after they arrived on the scene, one of the two officers discharged his weapon more than once, fatally shooting Ruszcyk, who used the last name of her soon-to-be husband, Don Damond. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported Monday night that Damond was killed by a gunshot to the abdomen, ruling her death a homicide.

The officer, who has been identified as Mohamed Noor, the first Somali-American police officer to patrol the district, reportedly shot Damond from the passenger seat of the police car through the driver’s door as Damond spoke to his partner, 25-year-old Matthew Harrity.

Following the pattern of other police killings, Noor and Harrity have been placed on paid administrative leave until the ongoing investigation is completed.

According to officials investigating the shooting, there is no dashcam video of the incident, and, while the officers wore the body cameras required by state law, they both had them turned off.

Police officers in Minneapolis are required to wear body cameras as part of an effort to mitigate popular outrage in the aftermath of the July 2016 shooting of Philando Castile. While this decision was presented as a progressive police reform by the Democratic Party and its supporters, the Damond shooting has exposed it as purely cosmetic. Officers can easily conceal their actions by simply leaving their body cameras turned off.

Saturday’s shooting took place in a relatively low crime, middle-class neighborhood in…

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