If the Justine Damond Case Feels Different, Here’s Why

Scott has been reporting daily on the criminal trial of Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond in the Summer of 2017. The case has generated a great deal of commentary. One of the sillier such pieces is by columnist Jennifer Brooks in today’s Star Tribune:

In a Hennepin County courtroom, the jury studied a collage of crime scene photos and videos, listened to Damond’s voice on the phone with the 911 operator, and began the painful work of weighing evidence in a case that rips every raw nerve in the national debate over police shootings, court bias, race, immigration and press freedom.

Really? The Noor case consists of a specific, and unique, set of facts that shed little or no light on any of those generalities.

She was a loving and much-loved daughter, fiancée and friend — and she was one of an estimated 987 people shot and killed by police in this country in 2017.

As though all “police shootings” are somehow of a piece. The columnist links to a Washington Post analysis for the 987 figure. The Post’s analysis indicates that in the overwhelming majority of cases, police officers were defending themselves against armed attackers.

Since everything in the world needs to be about race these days, Brooks concludes:

During the first week’s jury selection, the attorneys poked and probed the jury pool, searching for signs of unconscious bias as they prepared to try the case of the black immigrant cop who shot the white immigrant woman.

If this police shooting — the one with the white victim and the black cop — feels different from the others, it’s worth asking yourself why.

Oh, please. If the Justine Damond case feels different, here’s why: It is because nearly all of those fatally shot by police officers are men, and Damond was a woman. It feels different because, far from being a suspected perpetrator, Damond was the person who summoned police officers with a 911 call. It feels different because there was nothing about Damond, a young woman dressed in pajamas, that could rationally have been considered threatening. It feels different because the officer, Mohamed Noor, did not make any effort to ascertain who Damond was or whether she represented any kind of threat before shooting her. It feels different because Noor, the passenger in a police cruiser, shot immediately in front of his partner’s chest and through the open window of the squad car–not exactly standard police technique. It feels different because Noor gave Damond no warning before killing her.

It feels different because Noor acted with a stunning degree of incompetence that is paralleled in few if any “police shooting” cases. Race–the fact that “this police shooting” is “the one with the white victim and the black cop”–doesn’t have a damned thing to do with it.

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