Police in the US city of Minneapolis have removed a memorial to slain Australian woman Justine Damond created by a white nationalist group.
California far-right group, Identity Evropa, said its members placed a memorial outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct to honour Ms Damond, who was fatally shot by a police officer more than five months ago.
Police spokesman John Elder told Minnesota Public Radio News the memorial was cleared away when the department learned it was displayed outside its headquarters.
“We cannot allow any memorial and anything like that to be put up at that location,” Mr Elder told MPR News.
Identify Evropa helped organise participants in the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.
The memorial to Ms Damond consisted of a framed portrait, candles, roses and signs reading “United We Stand”.
“One family will be having an incomplete Christmas this year,” the group said in a tweet.
One family will be having an incomplete Christmas this year.
On Friday, Identity Evropa activists created a shrine for Justine Damond at the 5th Precinct in Minneapolis, MN, where her Somali-born killer – whom a judge recently decided not to charge – was assigned. pic.twitter.com/bzPntJq0aO
— IDENTITY EVROPA (@IdentityEvropa) December 23, 2017
Somali-American police officer Mohamed Noor shot Ms Damond after she called to report a possible sexual assault behind her home in July.
No charges have been filed and Ms Damond’s family in Australia have expressed their frustration at the investigation into her death.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman this month said he didn’t have enough evidence to charge Officer Noor, saying investigators “haven’t done their jobs”.
Mr Freeman also suggested Officer Noor’s refusal to speak to investigators had put prosecutors in a difficult position.
Ms Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, has said he’s “deeply concerned” the investigation into his daughter’s death may have been mishandled.
“We are deeply concerned about the possibility that the initial investigation was not done properly and with the greatest integrity or sense of completeness,” a visibly upset Mr Ruszczyk told reporters in Sydney this month.
Ms Damond, who was engaged to a Minneapolis man, called police to report a possible sexual assault behind her home in an affluent neighbourhood.
Responding officer Matthew Harrity reported being startled by a loud noise near his squad car as Ms Damond approached in her pyjamas.
Officer Noor reached across Officer Harrity from the passenger seat of their squad car and fired at the woman. Ms Damond died at the scene
The memorial was placed on a sidewalk near an intersection outside the police station.
– With agencies