Minneapolis Police Kill Bride-To-Be

July 17th 2017

Ethan Simon

It remains unclear why, exactly, officers with the Minnesota Police Department ended up fatally shooting Justine Damond the night of Saturday, July 15. After all, according to sources speaking to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it was Damond herself who had called the police, attempting to report a possible assault in the alley behind her house. 



According to the paer, "two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door."

Damond, originally from Australia, was engaged to be married to Don Damond in August, but had already taken to using his name on her business website. She was white, and state investigators found no weapons at the scene.



The news comes amidst a national debate over police violence, particularly against African-American citizens.

This shooting took place in Minneapolis's Fulton neighborhood, a mere 25-minute drive from Falcon Heights, Minn., the suburb of St. Paul where Philando Castile was shot to death on July 6, 2016. But this case reverses the common racial dynamic with police killings. That's because the officer who shot Damond was Mohamed Noor, an African-American. According to the Star Tribune, Noor is the first Somali police officer in Minneapolis's 5th District. He is also the subject of an ongoing lawsuit in which a woman claims she was assaulted and battered by Noor, who grabbed her arm, exacerbating an existing shoulder injury. Officers maintain that they had reason to believe she was suffering a mental health crisis, and were trying to transport her to the hospital.



There are several big questions surrounding the incident, but one sticks out in particular:

Why were the body cameras turned off?

MPD's rollout of body cameras for police officers responding to 911 calls was complete by November 2016. But according to a statement released by the Minneapolis Police, at the time of this shooting, the officers' body cameras were turned off.




That fact has raised some eyebrows about the efficacy of the city's body camera program. The absence of footage of the incident even drew skepticism from the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges. "I have questions about why the bodycams weren’t on," she said at a press conference.



Many on social media wondered why it was possible to turn off body cameras at all. Studies suggest that body cameras only reduce police violence when officers cannot turn them off.





The shooting has rekindled the debate over brutality and U.S. police. 

This level of police violence isn't typical among developed nations. According to The Washington Post, U.S. police have shot and killed 543 people so far this year. By contrast, British police only discharged their weapons seven times from March 2015 to March 2016.