MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Justine Damond’s neighbors and friends came together to provide comfort and support. They’ve been leading a campaign called “Justice for Justine” and gathered near her home Tuesday night.
Community activists say the decision to charge Noor is bittersweet. On Tuesday night, more than 100 people came together in the cold and snow to remember the life lost, as well as to pray for the life of an officer, now forever changed.
“We’ve been waiting for a decision over the past eight months,” Damond’s neighbor Ryan Masterson said.
Masterson left work early Tuesday, buying flowers on his way home so he could place them on the memorial for his neighbor Justine Damond.
“It’s something that I think the whole community gathers by, takes a pause, stops by and reflects,” he said. “But also it’s a source of comfort. It brings myself some peace to be out here.”
Activists also rallied for Justine Tuesday night, and urged the community not to forget other families who still seek justice.
“We’re one step closer to justice for Justine,” Minneapolis NAACP president Leslie Badue said. “Let’s keep her name alive, let’s keep Jamar [Clark’s] name alive, let’s keep Philando [Castile’s] name alive. We are one Minnesota!”
For many in the neighborhood, the memorial was all they had to remind them of the kind and gentle soul they lost.
Masterson says Damond’s death has haunted his dreams.
“I know that I have had countless sleepless nights,” he said. “I wake up and my bedroom window — I can look out and see this, and see the activity, and since that night — no, I have not had the chance to grieve.”
Even neighbors who didn’t know Justine say they hope her family finds peace, but charges against the officer who shot and killed her somehow consume them.
“She was an innocent woman whose life was taken,” neighbor Elizabeth Eisenstadt said. “I feel badly for the officer, because I cannot believe that he intended to kill an innocent woman.”
Neighbors, no matter how they feel about Tuesday’s developments, will come together in the community Damond called home.
“Today will be a good day for us to get together and grieve, and be with one another,” Masterson said.
There was no division at Tuesday’s rally — just peace and people comforting one another during a time of uncertainty.
“Celebrating that we are one human race tonight is the most important thing that we can do,” Minneapolis City Council member Linea Palmisano said. “And to see this as an opening for additional justice, and for police accountability, that’s really important.”
Another member of the city council — Andrea Jenkins — was in attendance, along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Members of the community, along with representatives from the Damond family, Black Lives Matter, Justice for Jamar, Citizens United Against Police Brutality, and other groups were at the rally, offering support and asking for continued support against a system where black men are often victims of excessive force by police.