Storm of Controversy Surrounds Somali Officer Involved in Shooting

Details slip through the cracks as chinese wall surrounds the investigation into Damond’s death.

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

EDINA, Minn. — As the family of Justine Damond mourns her loss, authorities are largely remaining quiet on the details surrounding the case.

Hennepin County Releases Its Findings

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office released their findings on Tuesday afternoon. Damond died at 11:51 p.m. Saturday night, approximately 20 minutes after the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) reports Officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity responded to a 911 call of potential domestic abuse. The report notes Damond died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Reports by local media and the Daily Mail state Noor shot Damond multiple times. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office told Alpha News that current laws restrict what can be released. Time of death and cause of death are considered public information, but the presence of other injuries unrelated to the cause of death cannot be shared.

Officer Noor Speaks Out

Tom Plunkett, the attorney for Officer Noor released this statement on behalf of his client:

“Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers.

“He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities. He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling. He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves. Officer Noor is a caring person with a family he loves and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing.

“The current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling. We would like to say more, and will in the future. At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.”

There is no confirmation as to whether Plunkett was hired by the police union.

Hodges Offers Her Praises a Year Earlier

A little more than a year ago, Noor received public praise for his appointment to the Minneapolis Police Department.

I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department,” Hodges wrote in a Facebook post time stamped on May 24, 2016.

“Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall. The community even hosted a meet and greet event (see pics) to welcome him. A wonderful sign of building trust and community policing at work.

“Welcome Officer Noor and all of the new officers in their new precinct assignments across the City.”

Somali Community Fears Backlash

The Washington Post conducted an interview with those in the Somali community who fear backlash as Noor is a Somali and a Muslim man. Mohamud Noor, the current Ward 6 candidate running against Abdi Warsame told the Washington Post that he hopes people will come together and look past the race of the officer. “He hopes the conversation will focus on police reform, not racial stereotypes,” Washington Post writer Katie Mettier wrote.

The Washington Post also reports that Somali leaders knew he shot Damond, but did not want to be the ones to release his name.

Read our coverage of the Justine Damond case here.

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.