MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police in Minneapolis released transcripts Wednesday of the 911 calls made by an Australian woman over the weekend who was shot and killed by a responding police officer.
Justine Damond, a yoga teacher who was slated to be married next month, called 911 Saturday night over a possible sexual assault occurring in the alley behind her home on the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South.
“I can hear someone out the back, and I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped,” Damond, 40, tells the dispatcher during the first call at 11:27 p.m., according to the transcript.
She adds: “I think she just yelled out ‘help,’ but it’s difficult, the sound has been going on for a while, I don’t think she’s enjoying it.”
The dispatcher tells Damond that “help is on the way.”
But when eight minutes go by and no officers show up, Damond grows concerned. She calls 911 again at 11:35 p.m., saying she’s still hearing voices, wondering if authorities have the wrong address.
Again, the operator tells Damond that officers will be there soon.
Four minutes later, however, the officers are the ones calling for help.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency investigating the shooting, says officer Mohamed Noor shot Damond while sitting in the passenger’s seat of the squad car.
The single bullet passed in front of his partner, Matthew Harrity, and through the driver’s side window, fatally striking Damond in the stomach. She died in the alley behind her home.
While both officers were wearing body cameras, they weren’t turned on during the shooting. Similarly, squad car cameras didn’t capture what happened.
Harrity told BCA investigators that when the squad car pulled into the alley he was startled by a loud sound immediately before Damond approached his window. His attorney says that it’s reasonable to assume that an officer in his situation would be concerned about a “possible ambush.”
Noor has not given a statement on the shooting. Minneapolis police policy doesn’t require him to do so, and there’s been no indication from his attorney he’ll give one in the future.
On Tuesday night, mourners gathered to hold a healing circle in south Minneapolis in Damond’s honor. On the same day, in her native Australia, hundreds gathered on a beach to pay silent tribute.
Damond’s death is the latest in a string of high-profile police killings in Minnesota. Earlier this year, an officer was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile. In 2015, the shooting death of Jamar Clark led to an 18-day occupation of a north Minneapolis police station.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called Damond’s death a “horrible tragedy.” He says he’s spoken with Damond’s fiance and reached out to the Australian consulate.