MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Once again, the use of body cameras was at the center of the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.
He is charged with murder in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July of 2017. Noor shot and killed her while responding to her 911 call to report what she thought was an assault happening in the alley behind her home.
On Tuesday morning, two first responders with Hennepin County who were on scene took the stand. They talked about arriving and that Ruszczyk Damond was already believed to be dead. They testified they were not told it was an officer-involved shooting.
Sgt. Shannon Barnette was the incident commander on the scene after Ruszczyk Damond was shot by Noor. On the stand Tuesday, prosecutors took time to point out how Barnette turned her body camera off whenever she spoke to other officers, including when she talked with Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity. Barnette called those conversations “private,” and didn’t think they should be recorded. Prosecutors also pointed what they call inconsistencies in Barnette’s testimony Tuesday and her testimony to the Grand Jury.
Also Tuesday, inspector Katherine Waite of the Fifth Precinct took the stand. She was critical of how the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension processed the squad car at the scene instead of taking it into their possession and holding it for evidence. She says days later, the car was washed and put back into service, something she says she didn’t think should have have happened.
Waite also was concerned that EMS workers left a blanket over the victim’s body, which brought up concerns that could change the crime scene.