Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Justine Damond

From the BBC:
"Justine Damond: 'Why did the police not use their cameras?'"

Questions are being raised by officials about why a police officer who shot an Australian woman, and his partner, did not record the fatal incident. Justine Damond, 40, was gunned down on Saturday after calling police to report a possible crime in her quiet Minneapolis neighbourhood. State investigators say the officers whom she encountered failed to activate their body or dashboard cameras. Every police officer and squad car in Minneapolis is equipped with cameras.  "I have the same questions everyone else does. Why weren't the police cameras on?" said Mayor Betsy Hodges. Minneapolis police are required to switch on their body cameras only during certain encounters, unlike in Los Angeles or Washington DC, where cameras must be switched on for any response to a call for service. Instead, there are more than a dozen situations in which cameras should be used, according to the police manual, which adds that failure to use the camera could result in job termination. "If a BWC [body-worn camera] is not activated prior to a use of force, it shall be activated as soon as it is safe to do so," reads the manual.  Local media reported that Ms Damond was dressed in her pyjamas and approached the driver's side door to talk to the officer at the wheel after police arrived. Officer Mohamed Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, fired his weapon across his partner and through the driver's door, striking Damond in the abdomen. Her fiancĂ©, Don Damond, said on Monday that the family is "desperate" for answers from officials. Speaking in Sydney, her father John Ruszczyk said: "Justine was a beacon to all of us, we only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstances of her death."  Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says he will personally decide whether to charge Officer Mohamed Noor, rather than put the question to a grand jury. And he questioned why the cameras were not turned on. Officer Noor has been with the police force for two years, local media report. Sources say his partner who was at the scene is Matthew Harrity, 25, who joined the force last year. A police radio recording Audio from the incident was released on Tuesday, in which police at the scene can be heard telling dispatchers that they are performing CPR, and that "no suspects are at large". Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau called Damond's death "tragic" in a statement on Monday.  "I've asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can," she said in her first comments on the killing. The two officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave. Ms Damond, nee Justine Ruszczyk, taught meditation classes at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Minneapolis.  She studied to be a veterinarian before relocating to the US, where she is believed to have been for at least the last three years. According to her website, she is a "qualified yoga instructor, a personal health and life coach and meditation teacher". Her death has made headlines across her native Australia. Over the past few years the US has seen a series of civilian killings at the hands of police that have prompted a national debate.

^ You hear all the reports and riots after a white police officer kills a  non-white person, but where are the protests now that a non-white officer has killed a white person? Any police officer who kills any innocent person needs to be addressed and that officer punished. It is clear there is something very fishy with these two police officers since you can understand if 1 body camera was off, but having both off at the same time (not to mention hearing their call for help after the shooting when they are so calm) seems too planned. The officer, Mohamed Noor, who killed the innocent woman needs to be tried and, if found guilty, treated the same way any murderer would be. He definitely should never be allowed to be a police officer in any jurisdiction. As for his partner, they need to example what he did in all of this and steps taken if needed. The has police are supposed to be there when you need them and the trend is that they are not the same protective force they once were. The public has come to not only not rely on them (my local town police aren't 24/7 and haven't been available when I called them) but also to feel they are more dangerous than the criminals/murderers they are supposed to be protecting us against. Once you loose that public trust you have to completely change not only your image, but train and work hard to make sure the mistakes that the police have made in the past are never repeated. Until that happens no one will trust the police. ^


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