At a press conference early yesterday evening Minneapolis authorities provided the the first account of the shooting of pajama clad Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the alley behind Damond’s home in southwest Minneapolis. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Ms. Damond’s death. The account is based on the BCA’s interview of Noor’s partner, Officer Matthew Harrity. Noor himself isn’t talking, at least not yet.
Harrity and Noor are the only two known witnesses to the shooting. Noor killed Ms. Damond with one or more shots to Damond’s abdomen from his seat on the passenger side of the squad car across the driver’s side and out the open window of toward which Ms. Damond approached. The Star Tribune summarizes Harrity’s version of events in three short paragraphs:
Police officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor eased their patrol vehicle into the alley of the quiet south Minneapolis neighborhood late Saturday, the squad’s lights off as they responded to a report of a possible assault.
Near the end of the alley, a “loud sound” startled Harrity. A moment later, Justine Damond, the woman who had called 911, approached the driver’s side of the squad car. Suddenly a surprise burst of gunfire blasted past Harrity as Noor fired through the squad’s open window, striking Damond in the abdomen.
The two officers began lifesaving efforts, but within 20 minutes Damond was dead.
In other words, yesterday’s press conference explained nothing. Perhaps the most illuminating fact related was Noor’s silence.
Noor is one of nine Somali police officers on Minneapolis’s force. He was the first to patrol Minneapolis’s Fifth Precinct, which includes the peaceful southwest Minneapolis neighborhood where Ms. Damond lived. (He is not, contrary to what I wrote earlier, the first Somali officer on the force.)
The Star Tribune story is short on information because so little has been made public. The story nevertheless provides a glimpse of Minneapolis’s political culture, of which the paper itself is a critical component, and which in its own way explains a lot:
State Rep. Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, issued a statement urging the change of what she called a police culture that causes deaths like Damond’s.
“The current officer training program indoctrinates individuals of all races into a system that teaches them to act first, think later, and justify with fear,” she said.
The shooting came just weeks after the acquittal of ex-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, and nearly two years after Jamar Clark was shot and killed during a scuffle with two Minneapolis police officers who were not charged.
Widespread protests followed the deaths of both men, who were black. When [Mayor Betsy] Hodges was asked if race played a role in her demands for immediacy and transparency in the Damond investigation, Hodges said it wasn’t about her personal feelings but about the importance of communication.
“I’ve learned a lot of lessons, almost two years ago, going through the experience of Jamar Clark,” she said.
While Hodges expressed her desire that Noor would offer a statement on what happened that night, [Assistant Police Chief Medaria] Arradondo said he would not cast judgment.
“It is his right,” Arradondo said. “He has legal representation and I want to respect his right for that.”
What a crew:
Betsy Hodges is Minneapolis’s mayor. She is the compleat left-wing idiot. She gave the most recent state of the city speech at a local mosque. In her speech Hodges said the city must embrace the discomfort of transformation.
Ilhan Omar is Minnesota’s first Somali state legislator. I wrote about her in the City Journal column “The curious case of Ilhan Omar.” Her curious case — it’s still curious.
Medaria Arradondo is Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief. Arradondo alludes to Noor’s right against compelled self-incrimination. Arradondo serves in a position of authority over Noor. Casting judgment is a part of Arradondo’s job description. While Noor has the right to remain silent, citizens have every right to draw inferences from his silence as they seek to puzzle out what happened.
UPDATE: As a commenter points out, the UK’s Guardian has a more comprehensive and detailed article here.