The stepson of an Australian woman shot dead by police in the United States is demanding answers, after it was revealed the officers didn’t have their body cameras turned on during the shooting.
Justine Damond, 40, was killed in Minneapolis about 11.30pm local time on Saturday after two officers responded to a report of a possible assault.
Ms Damond, originally from Sydney and also known as Justine Ruszczyk, was a trained veterinarian who had retrained as a spiritual healer and meditation teacher.
Her stepson, Zach Damond, 22, said she had called police after hearing a noise near their house in the upmarket suburb of Fulton.
“My mum was shot for reasons I don’t know,” Mr Damond said in a video posted on Facebook.
“I demand answers … I’m so done with all this violence.
“I just know she heard a sound in the alley so then she called the police and the cops showed up.
“She was a very passionate woman, she probably thought something bad was happening and then next thing I know they take my best friend’s life.”
Ms Damond ran her meditation workshops at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community (LHSC), which paid tribute in a Facebook post.
“We are so sad to report the tragic shooting of Justine Damond,” the community’s post said.
“Justine was one of the most loving people you would ever meet. We can’t even imagine LHSC without her.”
Ms Damond, whose partner is Don Damond, 50, is believed to have been living in the US for at least the past three years. The pair was reportedly due to marry next month.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has demanded to know why the officers’ body cameras were off.
“As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what happened,” she posted on Facebook.
“I have been working on behalf of all of you all night and all day and I will continue to do so.
“I share your questions and concerns and continue to seek answers.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault.
Zach Damond’s heartbreak (LANGUAGE WARNING)
“At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” it said in a statement.
“The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident.
“Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists.”
Ms Damond’s personal website says she rained as a veterinarian and practised yoga and meditation for 17 years.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it’s providing consular support to the family of an Australian woman killed in the US.
The two officers involved are on paid administrative leave which is standard procedure during BCA investigations.
Minnesota television WCCO reported that the Women’s March of Minnesota and the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) organised a vigil at Ms Damond’s home.
— Jeff Wagner (@Jeff_Wagner4) July 16, 2017
“There’s much confusion and sadness as community members and residents try to piece together and wrap their heads around what happened,” WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner reported.