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Justine Damond’s memorial held in Minneapolis as cops’ phones searched for evidence

11 August 2017 8:26 PM
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Justine Damond’s memorial held in Minneapolis as cops’ phones searched for evidence

Body camera rules to change in Minneapolis1:04

Minneapolis officials will announce changes to body camera policy after Justine Damond was shot by police.

HUNDREDS of mourners are gathering at a public memorial for former Sydney woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Ruszczyk Damond, 40, was shot dead by rookie cop Mohamed Noor on July 15, after she twice called 911 to report a sexual assault in the lane behind her inner city Fulton home.

The evening is to start with a Buddhist prayer and musical performances before speeches from Damond’s father John and fiance Don Damond.

Friend Rosie McGowan said Damond would want the night to be a positive reflection on her life.

“Justine’s personality was one of great humour, tremendous joy, and I can just feel her basically saying ‘why are you guys being so serious?’,” said Ms McGowan from Dorango Colarado, an old friend who was to read the prayer chosen by her family.

While the service is dedicated to celebrating the life of the former Sydney vet, meditation teacher and corporate speaker, there remain many questions about why Noor gunned her down.

His partner, Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that Noor, who was in the front passenger seat, fired his service revolver through the drivers’ side door after a woman slapped the back of their squad car.

Harrity said the noise startled the pair, and came at the same time they saw a man riding a bike towards them. Attorneys for both Harrity and Noor have said their clients felt they were being “ambushed”, a claim that has been rubbished by Damond’s family and friends.

Noor, 36, has refused to explain his actions but his brother said shortly after the shooting that it was an “unfortunate” mistake.

“If you wait for the investigation you’ll know it was an honest and sincere event that transpired,” Noor’s brother told News Corp.

The BCA would not comment on when its investigators would hand a brief of evidence to the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who told News Corp Australia last month he is considering charging Noor with murder.

Noor can only be compelled to testify if Minnesota police launch a separate internal investigation into the shooting. Due to laws designed to protect public servants, nothing he says can be used against him in a criminal investigation if he is compelled by his employers to speak.

Investigators last week obtained a new search warrant to examine Noor and Harrity’s iPhones in the hope they “may more clearly define the actions of Officers Noor and Harrity both before and post shooting”.

Damond’s shooting has drawn international attention and caused Mineappolis police chief Janee Harteau to resign after Mayor Betsy Hodges said the city lost faith in her leadership.

Police in Minnesota must also now turn on their body video cameras during traffic stops and while on any call-outs, after the department weathered heavy criticism for the fact neither Noor nor Harrity enabled filming, leaving investigators with little evidence.


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