US police officer Mohamed Noor is maintaining his wall of silence despite loud protests in the aftermath of the shooting death of Australian meditation and yoga teacher Justine Damond.
Officer Noor’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, confirmed to AAP on Monday the besieged Somali-born policeman continues to exercise his legal right not to be interviewed by investigators probing Ms Damond’s death.
Officer Noor also will not speak to the public or media about last week’s shooting.
The release of his Minneapolis Police Department records showed he passed semi-automatic, handgun, shotgun and taser qualifications and took a Super Bowl active shooter training course.
Officer Noor’s silence comes as outrage boils in Australia and Minneapolis among Ms Damond’s loved ones, the public and elected officials while the Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducts its independent investigation without Officer Noor’s input.
“The BCA’s investigation is active and ongoing,” BCA spokesperson Jill Oliveira said.
Ms Damond was shot in the stomach by Officer Noor on July 15 after she called 911 to report a woman screaming, possibly from a sexual assault, near her Minneapolis home.
Ms Damond suddenly appeared at Officer Noor’s vehicle in an alley behind her home.
Minneapolis and its twin city of St Paul have been shaken by multiple police shootings and “overuse of force” and on Monday the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota demanded the entire police department undergo new use of force and de-escalation training.
The ACLU is also urging new police chief Medaria Arradondo to immediately “implement a new body camera policy that mandates activation at the beginning of every interaction with members of the public”.
A concerned citizen, or prankster, has erected official-looking metal signs around Minneapolis warning drivers and pedestrians: “WARNING: TWIN CITIES POLICE EASILY STARTLED.”
It features a policeman shooting a gun in each hand. Minnesota has the largest number of Somali and East African expatriates in the US. Somali-born Minneapolis City Council Member, Abdi Warsame, told reporters Somali-American police officers were “afraid” after community and online anger flared in response to Ms Damond’s shooting.
“I’ve heard others describe this tragedy as a terrorist act, as a Muslim against a Christian,”
Mr Warsame told reporters at a press conference. Mr Warsame cited Minnesota politician and former Republican US presidential candidate Michele Bachmann “talking trash” at a hog roast event when she described Officer Noor as an “affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis”.
“I’ve spoken with a number of officers who are afraid,” Mr Warsame said. ”I’ve seen young children who are afraid.”