The Minneapolis police chief in charge of the tragic shooting death of Australian Justine Damond has spoken for the first time as her family prepares to file a “significant” civil law suit against the officer responsible.
Sydney-raised Ms Damond, 40, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, was shot in the US city of Minneapolis by police officer Mohamed Noor last week in an alleyway after he responded to her 911 call.
She had heard a possible assault taking place behind her home in Minneapolis, and was reportedly in her pyjamas when she was shot multiple times.
“Justine didn’t have to die … I believe the actions in question go against who we are as a department, how we train and the expectations we have for our officers,” Chief Janee Harteau said.
“These were the actions and judgement of one individual.
“I want to assure Justine’s family, our community and those in Australia that I will do everything in my power to ensure due process is followed and justice is served.
Minneapolis police chief addresses the media with the latest information about Australian woman Justine Damond's death. Read the story: http://ab.co/2ufTviM
Posted by ABC News on 2017年7月20日
“We are in constant contact with the Australian Government, and representatives of the US Government and Minnesota State authorities.”
Officer Noor’s body camera and police car dashboard camera were not turned on during the incident.
“We had the cameras for about eight months, so it’s not second nature for officers to put those cameras on yet,” she said.
“Which is why we want to do everything we can in training and in policy to ensure that they’re put on before an officer arrives at the scene, because one can never predict when something is going to happen.”
Damond family prepare lawsuit against officer, state
Ms Damond’s family has hired high-profile Minnesota lawyer Robert Bennet to act on their behalf, accusing Officer Noor and the City of Minneapolis of the unnecessary use of deadly force against Ms Damond.
If successful, the lawsuit could reap “significant potential civil damages” for the family, Mr Bennett told AAP.
“I don’t think he should have been an officer before and I certainly don’t think he should be one going forward,” he said.
“He certainly doesn’t have good no shoot, shoot, decision making and he seems to be a danger to the public and to other officers by virtue of his conduct as we have seen it so far.”
So far, little information has been released by the local police department about the shooting, and the matter is being investigated by a state body known as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The transcript of Ms Damond’s 911 calls show she phoned emergency services twice over concerns that a woman was being raped in the alley behind her home.
Mr Noor has declined to be interviewed by investigators.
In a statement, Ms Damond’s family said they wanted to bring her home to Australia for a farewell among family and friends.
“All we want to do is bring Justine home to Australia to farewell her in her hometown among family and friends,” it read.
“In the meantime, we ask that you give us time to grieve in private and to support each other at this very difficult time.”