An Australian woman in Minnesota was killed by police Saturday night in an encounter that has left many asking for answers. Justine Damond had reportedly called 911 to report a disturbance around 11:30 Saturday night. Shortly after the arrival of police, an officer shot Damond through the door of a police cruiser.
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The Star Tribune, relying on inside information, describe the situation like this: “Three sources with knowledge of the incident said Sunday that 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, sources said. No weapon was found at the scene.”
The the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were more reserved: “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. At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.”
It is unclear at this point if there is any footage or audio that might have been recorded by the dash-cam on the vehicle.
Damond, a 40-year-old from Sydney, Australia was living in the US. She was supposed to marry an American, Don Damond, in August, and had already been using his name (she also uses the name Justine Ruszczyk). Her soon-to-be-husband and his son were not home Saturday.
“Basically my mom’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.”
Damond’s website described her as a “corporate speaker, trainer and coach” who sought spiritual health for her clients.
Questions about the shooting are obviously numerous at this point. There was no weapon recovered from the scene, suggesting Damond was not armed. The officer in the passenger seat reportedly drew his gun and fired across his partner. But the larger issue seems to be the lack of body camera footage. Why were both officers’ cameras turned off?
There will be more to this story. Stay tuned.