The family of an Australian woman fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer has hired the attorney who represented the family of black motorist Philando Castile, who was also gunned down by an area officer.
Minneapolis attorney Bob Bennett told The Associated Press in an email Thursday that he is representing Justine Damond’s family.
Bennett tells WCCO-TV that Damond’s family is in disbelief at her death on Saturday night, after she dialed 911 to report a possible sexual assault. Bennett says Damond wasn’t a threat to anyone, nor could she have reasonably been perceived as such.
Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was fatally shot by a police officer in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop last July. The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted in June of first-degree reckless homicide. Castile’s family reached a nearly $3 million settlement in the case.
A Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a woman who called 911 to report a possible rape still hasn’t spoken with investigators and doesn’t have to.
But Officer Mohamed Noor will be compelled to give a statement to his department as part of an internal investigation. He could be fired if he refuses, but anything he says can’t be used in a criminal case.
Noor hasn’t provided his explanation for what happened Saturday when he fired a shot from the passenger seat of a squad car and killed 40-year-old Justine Damond.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says Noor’s partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was startled by a loud noise and Damond appeared at the driver’s side window. Noor fired, striking her in the abdomen.