Saturday, an Australian national living in the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis with her American fiance was shot and killed by authorities responding to a 911 call she had placed, subsequently leaving the community in which she lived outraged over the incident and demanding answers.
According to reports, the deceased has been identified as 40-year-old Justine Damond who worked in the community as a meditation instructor at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community and was well-known for bringing “joy” into the lives of those that knew her.
While few details have been released regarding the matter, “heartsick” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges stated during a press conference that she is “deeply disturbed” by the tragic event and that the incident is being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
During the press conference Minneapolis Police Department Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo stated the following:
“Saturday, July 15th at approximately 11:30 pm a 911 call was received and Minneapolis squad was dispatched to an ‘unknown trouble’ to the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South.
As the officers arrived at that location this call of an unknown trouble turned into an officer involved shooting.”
Arradondo further confirmed that a woman had died as a result of the officer involved shooting and that he would be unable to answer media questions regarding the matter as the investigation is being conducted independently by the BCA.
While Mayor Hodges did confirmed that the body cameras of both officers responding to the call were not turned on at the time of the incident, Arradondo refused answer media inquiries regarding on whether or not it was the department’s policy that the body cameras must be on during ‘unknown trouble‘ calls.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave following the incident.
“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,” the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release. “At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.”
Police were trying to determine whether any video of the incident exists. The body cameras of the officers involved were not activated, according to police.
Editor’s Note: Fox 9 is reporting that in addition to the officer body cameras being turned off during the shooting the responding squad’s dash camera did not capture footage of the incident in question.
Her fiance, identified by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, as Don Damond, was reportedly on his way home from a business trip.
Damond, whose maiden name was Ruszczyk but went by her fiance’s last name, called police after hearing a sound in a nearby alley, according to their son, Zach Damond, 22.
“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach Damond told the Star-Tribune. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”
Additionally, Fox 9 reports:
One of Hodges’ opponents in this year’s mayoral race and outspoken police reformist Nekima Levy-Pounds also attended the vigil honoring Damond, making an impassioned plea for justice to those present.
“This will happen again, and this community is not immune from it happening again,” she said. “Our police forces are out of control.”
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