What happened in the killing of spiritual healer Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the alley outside her home in southwest Minneapolis? The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Ms. Damond’s shooting. It has released only one somewhat cryptic statement on the investigation.
Ms. Damond had called 911 to seek help for what she feared was a rape in progress outside her home late on the evening of July 15. Officers Harrity and Noor responded, driving south through the alley with the squad’s lights off.
As they reached the street, “Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad,” according to the BCA statement. Dressed in her pajamas, Ms. Damond approached the driver’s side window of the squad car “immediately afterward[.]” Noor shot from the passenger seat, across his partner and through the window, striking Damond in the abdomen. Ms. Damond was unarmed, although she was apparently carrying her cell phone. She died at the scene 20 minutes later.
Officer Noor has refused to be interviewed by the BCA, obviously on the advice of counsel. One can’t help but draw adverse inferences from his silence.
BCA spokesman Jill Oliveira advised me by email yesterday: “The BCA’s investigation into the shooting is active and ongoing, and all information that is public at this time has been released. No further updates are planned until the BCA presents the case to the county attorney. I don’t have a timeframe for you, but we’ll likely send out a notice to media when we’ve done so.”
What more is to be done by the BCA? Ms. Oliveira declined to respond to the question.
Mike Freeman is the Hennepin County Attorney. He cannot proceed until the BCA completes its investigation. Freeman has announced that he would decide himself whether to charge Noor, rather than present the case to a grand jury.