Australian Justine Damond′s fatal shooting by Minneapolis police ′inexplicable′ | News | DW | 19.07.2017
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Police shooting

Australian Justine Damond's fatal shooting by Minneapolis police 'inexplicable'

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said questions must be answered over the fatal shooting of a Sydney woman by Minneapolis police. The officer who fired the bullet has refused to speak to investigators.

In an interview on Wednesday, the Australian premier raised questions over Damond's fatal shooting by police who had received a late-night emergency call from her home.

"It is inexplicable," Turnbull told Australian broadcaster Nine Network. "We are demanding answers on behalf of her family," the prime minister said in the interview with Nine Network.

"How can a woman out in the street in her pajamas seeking assistance be shot like that?"

Police officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity had been driving through an alley, searching for a suspect after Damond reported hearing sounds of a sexual assault taking place.

Harrity told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension he had heard a loud sound near the patrol car. Immediately after that, Damond - who was unarmed - had approached the driver's side of the car.

Noor, sat in the passenger seat, fired his weapon through the open driver's-side window, the bureau said.

Damond died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to preliminary investigations.

Noor, who has served on the force for 21 months, has refused to talk to investigators. "Officer Noor's attorney did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible," a bureau statement said, adding that it could not "compel the testimony of either officer."

Read: Police officer acquitted in shooting of black Minnesota man gets pay off

Questions have been raised as to why body cameras on both the officers and the car were turned off at the time of the incident.

Family's plea for justice

Damond, who was originally from Sydney, had lived in the US for three years and was set to marry her fiance Don Damond next month. She had already begun using her married name.

Her father John Ruszczyk told an Australian news conference that his daughter was "a beacon to all of us."

"We only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstances of her death," he said.

Read: Police in Germany kill more than you think

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau called Damond's death "tragic" in a statement and promised a "transparent" investigation.

The agency investigating the incident said it was now seeking any civilian video of the incident. Noor and his partner Harrity have both been placed on administrative leave.

Damond's case is the latest high-profile police shooting, with most others involving victims who were African-American.

rc/ng (AFP, AP, dpa)

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