MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As questions mount in the death of Justine Damond, there may not be answers coming from the officer who shot her.
The weekend shooting happened in the quiet Fulton neighborhood of south Minneapolis, just blocks from Lake Harriet. Relatives say 40-year-old Damond, a yoga instructor, called 911 Saturday night for a possible assault in her back alley.
She met officers there to speak with them, and sources tell WCCO-TV that, while still sitting in the cruiser, one of the officers, Mohamed Noor, shot her through the window.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency investigating the shooting, said that more answers as to what led to Damond’s death will be released following interviews with the officers involved.
However, Noor doesn’t have to talk to the BCA. Also, Minneapolis Police Department policy is that statements are voluntary.
“That’s a discretionary choosing by the person, by the officer and their council whether they choose to do that or not,” said Marsh Halberg, a defense attorney and former prosecutor not affiliated with the case. “I would, frankly, be surprised if there is a statement in this case. There is no reason they have to give one.”
Halberg says the case has the potential to be different from the Philando Castile case, in which former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez gave a statement to the BCA, which was heavily scrutinized during his trial earlier this year.
Noor, the officer who shot Damond, joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2015. He was praised as the first Somali-American to join the 5th Precinct.
Since joining the force, Noor has had three discipline complaints, including one in which charges were filed over the weekend, on the day before the shooting. In those charges, Noor and other officers are being sued for allegedly taking a woman to the hospital and detaining her against her will.
In another one of the complaints, Noor was cleared.