Justine Damond was a Minneapolis yoga teacher who was shot by police through the window of their patrol car after she called to report a potential assault by her house. Though they were wearing body cameras, both officers had them turned off. The ensuing investigation has tried to make sense of why Damond was killed. The newest detail in the case, according to the police, is that a woman slapped the patrol car.
The Washington Post reports that a new search warrant says that as the car drove through the alley by Damond’s house, someone slapped it. There’s no information about why, or even a confirmation of who it was in the warrant:
“Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad,” according to the search warrant filed by the BCA, reported MPR News. “After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.”
Officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor, who shot Damond, have testified that they were “startled by a loud sound” shortly before the shooting occurred. It may be that the sound officers heard came from the “woman” thumping their car, but there’s no confirmation.
The New York Daily News reports that since this comment was revealed, signs have appeared around Minneapolis featuring a drawing of an officer firing a gun with the warning “Twin Cities Police Easily Startled” written on it.
Noor has refused to speak with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators, according to the NYDN, but his lawyer has suggested that both officers feared an ambush in Damond’s alley.
The Star Tribune reports that Police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned last Friday following the controversy of Damond’s death, though this move came after two other high-profile police shootings in Minneapolis: Philando Castile and Jamar Clark. According to a statement from Mayor Betsy Hodges, Harteau’s resignation came at the request of the mayor’s office:
The Hill reports that protestors interrupted a press conference with Mayor Hodges as she announced Harteau’s resignation, many of them calling for Hodges to join her.
“We ask you for your prompt resignation. We don’t want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore,” a man said during her press conference as Hodges looked on.
We are asking you that you take your staff with you,” he added. “We don’t want you to appoint anybody anymore. Your leadership has been very ineffective, and if you don’t remove yourself, we’re going to put somebody in place to remove you.”
Hodges is up for re-election in November, and will be facing lots of questions about why it took the death of a white Australian woman at the hands of a brown officer to prompt dramatic action in the city’s police force.
Officer Noor is Somali-American. USA Today reports that Minneapolis City Councilman Abdi Warsame and others have spoken out about targeted Islamophobia since Damond’s death, which has affected Minneapolis’s large population of Somali and Muslim people. The day before Harteau resigned, Warsame called out Michelle Bachmann for her hateful rhetoric about Noor at a hog roast in Waconia. The Star Tribune reports:
“That’s what I see in Minnesota — too many people who are afraid of being called ‘racist,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘Islamophobe,’ ” Bachmann said. “I’m not afraid of it.”
She also mentioned Justine Damond, the woman who was shot and killed late Saturday by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor. She called Noor an “affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges,” and insinuated that Noor may have shot Damond for “cultural” reasons.
“In Minnesota, we have been marinated in political correctness so long we dare not even allow ourselves to think about cultural questions,” she continued.
Warsame said that Damond’s death was a tragedy, but the reaction is causing fear in the Somali community.
“When you have someone like Congresswoman Bachman say this was done because he was a Muslim. I mean, I think that’s unacceptable.”