MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rep. Keith Ellison is calling for “a comprehensive response” to the police shooting death of a yoga teacher in south Minneapolis.
The congressman, whose district includes Minneapolis, said in a statement Tuesday that Justine Damond’s death was the latest in a string of incidents where unarmed people were fatally shot by police officers.
“We need to confront the reality of so many unarmed people killed by the same officers who swear an oath to protect us,” he said. “Justine’s death shows no one should assume ‘officer-involved shootings’ only happen in a certain part of town or to certain kinds of people. This is a systemic problem which calls for a broad, comprehensive response.”
Ellison added: “This tragedy, and others like it, will persist as long as our society resists holding our law enforcement accountable.”
Family members say Damond, 40, died Saturday night after calling 911 to report an assault. When officers responded to her home in the quiet Fulton neighborhood, she spoke with them and was fatally shot.
Officer Mohamed Noor pulled the trigger, authorities say. He shot Damond while sitting in the squad’s passenger seat, with the bullet flying in front of his partner and through the open driver’s side window.
While both Noor and the other officer were wearing body cameras, they did not have them turned on. Ellison says he finds that fact “disturbing.” Other city officials, such as Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, have questioned why the devices were turned off during the encounter.
In his statement, Ellison compared this most recent high-profile police shooting in Minnesota to the deaths of Philando Castile and Jamar Clark. He said that “prayers are not enough” to address instances where police unarmed people are fatally shot by police.