MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says that Saturday evening’s shooting of Justine Damond is “just awful.”
Damond was shot and killed by in southwest Minneapolis by police officer Mohamed Noor, shortly after she called 911 to report a possible assault in the alley near her house.
“First, we just have to acknowledge that this shooting is awful. This is devastating for, of course, the family and the neighborhood and our entire city. It’s just awful, and I don’t want to go any further without saying that,” Hodges told Chad Hartman Monday afternoon on WCCO Radio.
Noor is a Somali-American officer who joined the department two years ago. He was reportedly the first Somali to serve as an officer in the city’s 5th Precinct.
Harteau said Monday that she has “many of the same questions” as Damond’s family and community members are asking about the shooting. She says that’s why she immediately asked for an outside investigation.
“I learned a lot of lessons a couple of years ago when Jamar Clark was shot and in the demonstrations that followed that, and one of them is people really want to make sure they’re hearing from the mayor that they’re hearing from me. They want to know how I feel about it and they want to know what information I have and what can I give them. They just want transparency and that was clear,” Hodges said. “So my role here is to make sure that any information we do have we’re passing along. I’ve made sure to let people know what it is I’m doing and how I’m spending my time, because this has consumed pretty much every waking hour — and most of them have been waking hours since the shooting happened — that I get and share as much information as I can about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.”
Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau has called for a swift investigation into Damond’s death. Hodges told Hartman on WCCO Radio that, like the community, she needs to know what happened Saturday.
“I have the same questions everybody has, Chad. I don’t know what happened. I genuinely don’t know what happened, and I have those questions, the community has those questions. We are hoping to get answers from this investigation because this is devastating,” Hodges said. “Why wasn’t that body camera turned on? And was the nature of the interaction one where it should have been turned on?”
Both officers were wearing body cameras, but they were not activated during the shooting. Around 10 percent of Minnesota’s law enforcement agencies wear body cameras. Right now there are no state guidelines. The rules in Minneapolis call for recording most interactions officers have with people.
“If there is information that comes out from any case — this one or any case — that calls into question the how effective our body camera policy is, absolutely we need to review our policies and make sure that they are as impactful and effective as they can be. It’s a really powerful tool, a body camera. It is not a silver bullet … that’s a terrible phrase, but it won’t solve every problem that we have,” Hodges said.
Damond worked as a personal health and life coach and was engaged to be married.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s union has been very quiet the past few days. Representatives are not commenting at all, and they say they won’t until details unfold in this investigation.