Minneapolis officer who allegedly shot Justine Damond offers condolences


Local law enforcement sources identify Mohamed Noor, one of few Somali-Americans on Minneapolis force, as officer who opened fire on Australian woman

The officer implicated in the fatal police shooting of Australian national Justine Damond in Minneapolis has issued a statement extending his condolences to her family, as senior local law enforcement sources confirmed to the Guardian that Mohamed Noor, an officer with only two years' experience, opened fire on the unarmed 40-year-old.

Noor is one of a small handful of Somali Americans on the Minneapolis force and comes from the city's substantial Somali community - the largest in America - that has frequently been maligned in the rightwing press.

The circumstances of Damond's death remain unclear as police have declined to provide detailed information. But the Hennepin County medical examiner confirmed on Monday that Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The yoga and meditation instructor, who had moved to the US in 2015, called 911 late on Saturday evening to report a possible sexual assault close to her home. According to local reports, she approached the driver's side window of the attending police squad car, dressed in her pyjamas. Noor opened fire from the passenger seat, firing across his partner. The officer did not have his body camera turned on.

On Tuesday, Noor's lawyer Thomas Plunkett, a local criminal defense attorney, issued a statement saying the officer "extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event".

"He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers," the statement added. Plunkett did not confirm that Noor was the officer who had opened fire. The Minneapolis police department has not named Noor publicly.

On Monday, Damond's American fiance, Don Damond, with whom the Australian had been living in the Minneapolis suburb where the shooting took place, expressed frustration that police had withheld detailed information on the incident.

"We have lost the dearest of people and we are desperate for information," Damond told reporters.

The incident threatens to ignite tensions in Minneapolis on a number of fronts. The city is still recovering from the high-profile police shooting of Philando Castile, a black man killed by an officer in the neighbouring city of St Paul. The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook and video evidence showed Castile had been shot by officer Jeronimo Yanez after he declared he had licensed firearm in his vehicle. Yanez was acquitted in a criminal trial last month.

But the fact that Noor comes from the city's Somali population has left community leaders concerned over a potential backlash. A handful of young Somali men from Minneapolis have escaped the country to fight for the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab in Somalia and for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Relations between the community and law enforcement have been strained for a number of years: last year, a group of young Somalis who attempted to leave the US for Syria were convicted in a terror trial amid claims of FBI entrapment.

The hiring of Noor, who joined around four Somali-American officers on the Minneapolis PD, was heralded as a major success in expanding the diversity of the force. Noor was the first Somali-American officer to patrol in the city's fifth precinct and was welcomed into the force personally by the city's mayor.

Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederations of the Somali Community in Minnesota, said the diaspora was "shocked" at Damond's death.

"Any time there is a loss of life, people get shocked, especially when the police are involved," said Noor, who is not related to the officer.

Midway through an interview with the Guardian, Noor said he had received an anonymous threatening voicemail, something he described as a "regular process" after events involving members of the community that receive media attention.

"He's a police officer, no matter what race he comes from," Noor said. "This is a tragic incident, there is a loss of life."


More Related News

Chicago Aviation Dept fires two officers involved in dragging man off flight
Chicago Aviation Dept fires two officers involved in dragging man off flight
  • US
  • 2017-10-17 21:38:01Z

The Chicago Department of Aviation has fired two security officers for their roles in the forcible removal of a passenger on a United Airlines flight in April, an incident that provoked international outrage. The firings were included in a report on the incident released on Tuesday by the Chicago Office of the Inspector General. David Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American physician, was hospitalized after aviation officers dragged him from a United Airlines plane to make space for four crew members on the flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky.

The Latest: Afghan official: Drone strikes kill 35 Taliban
The Latest: Afghan official: Drone strikes kill 35 Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Latest on developments in Afghanistan where the Taliban have staged several attacks targeting police across the country (all times local):

Bitcoin engineer Jameson Lopp SWATted by angry crypto fans
Bitcoin engineer Jameson Lopp SWATted by angry crypto fans

An engineer for BitGo, Jameson Lopp, faced down a horde of police officers with rifles at his home in Durham, North Carolina after someone sent an anonymous tip regarding a hostage situation at his home.

U.S. police deaths on duty spiked in 2016: FBI
U.S. police deaths on duty spiked in 2016: FBI
  • US
  • 2017-10-16 19:49:39Z

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sixty-six police officers were killed on the job by felons in 2016, up about 61 percent from 41 deaths a year ago, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday. The number was the second highest since 2011, when 72 officers were killed by felons, according to the FBI report. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement called the numbers "shocking" and "unacceptable," and said the Justice Department would work toward reducing violent crime.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Europe

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.