A day before submitting her resignation, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, in her first public statement on the killing nearly a week ago of an unarmed woman by a Somali refugee cop, called her death “unnecessary” and said it went against the protocol and training given to her officers.
“Justine [Damond] didn’t have to die,” Harteau, the city’s first openly lesbian police chief, said at a press conference Thursday night. Harteau had been hiking in Colorado all week in the aftermath of the shooting.
Harteau said based on current information about the case, there was no justification for officer Mohamed Noor’s decision to shoot Damond, a 40-year-old bride-to-be and yoga instructor who had moved to the U.S. from Australia to be with her fiancée.
Harteau submitted her resignation Friday in the wake of the fatal shooting at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges, according to a statement from the city.
Noor is one of about half a dozen Somali-Americans on the Minneapolis police force and he was the first such hire in the 5th precinct [Minneapolis has the nation’s largest community of Somali refugees].
He has been with the department two years and in that time had already been the subject of two complaints and one lawsuit brought by a woman who alleged he brutalized her.
Noor reportedly told friends he heard a “loud noise” as he and his partner pulled into an alleyway where Damond had summoned them via a 9-1-1 call in which she tried to report a sexual assault in progress. If that story is true, the noise startled Noor, causing him to fire his weapon across his partner, who was driving, through the car window, striking Damond once in the abdomen. She died at the scene.
The shooting by Noor remains under investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but Harteau said the officers involved should have turned on their body cameras. She characterized the shooting as “one individual’s actions” and not reflective of the department.
Noor has refused to talk with police investigators since the July 15 incident.
Former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said Harteau has to accept a large part of the blame for putting an unqualified officer on the street.
“Finally the female chief of Minneapolis police came out and said Justine Damond should still be alive. She said Mohammad Noor had no reason to shoot Justine,” Bachmann told WND. “He violated police policy and training. Noor refuses to cooperate with investigators. He refuses to give a statement.
“Firing him isn’t enough, the question is whether a grand jury will be impaneled. Manslaughter charges should be considered,” she added.
“Again, will the prosecutor and police department work to determine whether this was in fact a hate crime. Clearly it wasn’t premeditated, but was it a gut reaction of Mohammad Noor resulting from his cultural beliefs? What mosque did he attend? What are his beliefs?”
The Minneapolis police earlier this week released a tape of the 9-1-1 call by Damond that only adds to the mystery of why a trained police officer would shoot an unarmed woman in her pajamas through the window of his squad car?
Even more perplexing, if it truly was a case of an officer being “surprised” and rattled by a supposed “loud noise” outside the car about the same time that Damond appeared, why has officer Mohamed Noor refused to talk to detectives, referring all questions to his lawyer?
That has prompted critics such as Robert Spencer to ask in a tweet:
Muslim cop who shot unarmed woman says he was “startled” by loud noise, but no nearby residents heard it https://t.co/quWgbxjFXm
— Robert Spencer (@jihadwatchRS) July 20, 2017
As noted by a media outlet in Damond’s native Australia, the 9-1-1 tape reveals a “critical missing two minutes.”
A timeline pieced together through the bride-to-be’s 911 calls and a newly released police incident report shows Damond was shot two minutes after police officers arrived at the alleyway behind her home.
“What it doesn’t explain is what happened in those two crucial minutes that prompted officer Mohamed Noor to draw his gun, reach over his partner and discharge his weapon through the open window, delivering a fatal shot to Ms Damond’s abdomen,” reports News.com.au, an Australian outlet.
The incident report shows officers arrived 12 minutes after the concerned resident’s initial 911 call at 11.39 p.m. when she reported a suspected sexual assault in progress in the alley.
The officers gave no indication that any dire situation was transpiring. Everything was under control, no call for back up.
Two minutes later, the female caller was dead.
Officers reported shots had been fired, they had ‘one down,” and emergency back-up was definitely needed.
A timeline of the calls and police response, compliments of News.com.au, follows:
11.27 p.m.: First 911 call. Ms Damond reports she hears a woman “having sex or being raped” in the alley behind her home on 51st St and Washburn Ave. The operator says they have “already got an officer on the way.”
“What is your name?” the officer asks.
11.35 pm: Second 911 call. Damond calls emergency services again saying no one has arrived and checks if officers got the address wrong. “Are you JUSTINE?” the operator asks. “You’re hearing a female screaming?”
Damond confirms and is told “officers are on the way there”.
11.39 pm: Police arrive. A squad car, driven by officer Matthew Harrity with officer Mohamed Noor in the passenger seat, arrive at the address. The officers report on police radio the incident is a “Code four,” meaning no back up is required.
11.41 pm: Shooting reported. The situation has completely changed. Officers call for back up requesting a police, fire and emergency response. The incident report notes at this time: “ONE DOWN… STARTING CPR.”
Police radio transcript from the time shows officers reported: “Shots fired at Washburn and 53rd Street. Correction 51st. Sergeant to acknowledge shots fired and one down at Washburn.”
11.46 pm: Police radio in to confirm there are “no suspects at large.”
11.49 pm: Incident report shows police “have been doing CPR for last four minutes.” “Two additional police units have arrived on the scene.”