Authorities Tight-Lipped on Officer-Involved Shooting

The 40-year-old bride-to-be was shot and killed while talking to the police.

Justine Damond, Minneapolis Police
Image Credit: City of Minneapolis/Facebook

MINNEAPOLIS — Questions are continuing to swirl as the police department remains tight-lipped on the details surrounding the death of a female Australian national in an Edina neighborhood.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) reports that around approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, officers responded to a call of potential assault in the area from the woman, later identified as Justine Damond.

KARE11 cites police sources stating, “An officer shot across his partner and out the window of the squad car, striking Damond. When the officer opened fire, his partner was ‘stunned.’” 

The Star Tribune reports that Damond was speaking with the officer’s partner, who was in the driver’s seat. It was while they were speaking that the officer fired his weapon, killing her.

Damond, 40, initially went to school to be a veterinarian, but switched careers down the line, becoming a yoga instructor and spiritual wellness advisor according to her website. She was set to be married next month to Don Damond, who is the Vice President and General Manager of Little Six Casino according to his LinkedIn page.   

“My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know, and I demand answers,” her soon-to-be stepson, Zach Damond, said in a Facebook live video.

KSTP has identified both officers involved in the deadly incident as Officer Matthew Harrity, who was the driver of the squad car and Officer Mohamed Noor, who  according to KSTP joined the force in 2015 and has two open complaints against him. Heavy also reports that Noor is named in a federal case by a former social worker who accused Noor and other officers of forcefully entering her home and detaining her, before transporting her to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. According to court documents obtained by Heavy, the former social worker was released from the hospital within two hours of arrival.

The BCA reports no weapons were found at the scene of the shooting. The report also notes that while both officers were equipped with body cameras, they were not recording at the time of the incident.

Last June, Alpha News reported on the roll out of body cameras for Minneapolis Police Officers. At the time, Police Chief Janee Harteau said, “body cameras are an important tool, one that will help us continue to transform the relationship between police and community for the better. They are not the final step in transparency, but they are a big step toward it.”

The cameras don’t run continuously nor do they turn on automatically. Officers are required to turn them on when they are expected to act in their position as an officer.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges questioned why the cameras were not rolling when the shooting occurred in a press conference Sunday afternoon. Hodges said that she was “heartsick” and announced an investigation was started by the BCA.

Harteau said in a statement, “I want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. 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.”

Both officers are on paid administrative leave and the concluded investigation by the BCA will be turned over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for the issuance of any charges against the officer.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.