Questions continue to mount about the strange shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond at the hands of a Minnesota cop.
The Australian national who lived with her fiance in a middle-class suburb of Minneapolis called 9-1-1 to report what she believed was a sexual assault in progress in the alley near her home.
Two officers responded, she walked up to their patrol car in her pajamas at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and started talking to the officer in the driver’s seat. That’s when the other officer suddenly pulled his gun and shot her through the door. She was hit in the abdomen and died at the scene.
Her family is broken and wondering how this could happen.
The city has not released any information, but the officer who pulled the trigger has been identified as Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American who entered the country as a refugee and was the first Somali to be employed by the department’s 5th precinct.
WND’s request for information Tuesday was met with a non-comment from Corey Schmidt, the police department’s public information officer.
“The Minneapolis Police Department is not able to provide comment on the investigation,” Schmidt said in an email.
WND has learned he was one of five Somalis on the entire force and that the city makes a special effort to recruit Somalis as part of its affirmative-action plan.
The city’s affirmative-action program requires it to give preferential treatment to minorities, not only those hired by the city but by all contractors awarded contracts of more than $100,000.
The city’s leaders bemoaned the fact that they could not come up with more blacks to staff 100 new positions that came open at the end of 2014. The Star-Tribune, in an Aug. 19, 2014, article headlined “Minneapolis police struggle to hire diverse force,” interviewed several activists who took the city to task for allowing the number of black officers to dwindle.
With 100 new openings, the city was all but apologizing for the fact that at least 71 percent would be white, saying it had tried everything to recruit more blacks over the years, including a pre-high school academy that nurtured young black kids who showed an interest in law enforcement. But was having only marginal success.
“Minneapolis police have about half the black and Hispanic officers they need to accurately reflect the city’s population, records show. This comes despite years of diversity plans, legal action and a federal mediation agreement sparked by low levels of minority representation within the police,” the Star Tribune reported.
The mediation agreement was a tool of the Obama Justice Department to pressure the city into hiring more black and Latino officers.
One of those who dished out criticism of city leaders in late 2015 was Peter Hayden, part of the Community Standards Initiative, a group seeking more diversity in the city’s police department.
“My concern and our concern is that there seems to be room to hire new people but where are the people of color, particularly about African-Americans?” asked Hayden.
Minneapolis police have been “intensely committed” to finding diverse candidates, police spokesman John Elder told the Star-Tribune in August 2014.
So, a few months later when the department hired Mohamed Noor in March 2015, it was a big deal. The mayor herself, Betsy Hodges, issued a public statement commending the hire.
Noor, who entered the U.S. as a child from war-torn Somalia, joined four other Somali-Americans on the Minneapolis Police Department. Given that he was not only black but a Muslim refugee, he instantly gave credibility to the mayor’s promises of a more diverse police force. This plan, according to city documents, uses affirmative-action in an attempt to hire minorities to city positions in the exact same ratio that they are present in the city’s general population.
Because blacks represent 18 percent of the city’s population, they should make up 18 percent of the police officers on patrol, according to the city’s Office of Civil Rights.
The Somali community itself represents about 50,000 residents within the city, most of them imported by the United Nations refugee resettlement program, which has been sending Somalis to America since at least 1990.
What’s ironic is that while the city was recruiting Somalis to become police officers, al-Shabab and the Islamic State were recruiting them just as heavily to become terrorists.
Andrew Luger, the Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, admitted during a press conference announcing the terrorism-related arrests of six more Somalis in April 2015 that “Minnesota has a terror recruitment problem.”
More than three-dozen young Somali men from Minneapolis have left the U.S. to fight for al-Shabaab in Somalia and for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The hiring of Noor, who in March 2015 joined less than half-a-dozen other Somali-American officers on the Minneapolis P.D., was supposed to show the world that male Somali refugees could grow up to become model citizens, not just terrorists. Noor was the first Somali-American officer to patrol in the city’s fifth precinct and was welcomed into the force personally by Hodges.
So it didn’t matter that Noor had been the subject of three complaints of unprofessional conduct including a lawsuit that alleges he brutalized another woman in May 2017. Terminating him would require answering to the city’s powerful Muslim advocacy groups, something no Democrat in Minnesota wants to do.
The city also launched a new “hate crimes hotline” last month in which it encouraged citizens to take special note of its local police and whether they were exercising “bias” based on one’s race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or religious background.
Given the political makeup of the city’s leadership and its desire to hire more black officers, especially those with roots in the Somali community, it is highly unlikely that investigators will seek to find out if Noor was motivated by his own religious bias in the killing of Justine Damond, said former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The question that needs to be answered is, was this shooting a mistake or was it a “cultural seizure” by a Muslim officer who snapped and acted irrationally at the sight of a woman in her pajamas?
“The shooting makes no sense, and Noor comes from the mandated cover-up women culture,” Bachmann told WND. “That’s why I’m wondering if they’ll ask whether his cultural views led him to shoot her. That’s something, if true, I can’t imagine the progressives would allow to get out.
“Minneapolis race-baiters traffic in imagined bias,” Bachmann added. “This may have been real bias. But will we ever know?”
Justine’s longtime fiance, Don Damond, spoke at a press conference Monday evening and said the family is not only in a deep state of grieving, but is tormented by the lack of information on what happened to their loved one.
“Sadly, her family and I have been provided with almost no information on what happened,” Don Damond said.
Ed Davis, the former police commissioner for the city of Boston, appeared on Fox News Tuesday and said the city of Minneapolis owes the victim’s family some answers. Shoving the entire investigation off on state detectives is not a valid excuse, he said.
“For a police commissioner to come out and say there’s no information, that’s unconscionable,” Davis said, adding that the little bits of information that are available indicate the shooting was either a horrible mistake in which protocol was violated, or it was intentional in which the officer should have already been arrested.
“This family deserves answers. You are taught that you never fire a gun over the chest of your partner,” he said. “The rules are pretty clear. There were at least three witnesses, and there have been reports that his partner was shocked?”
Yet, because of Minnesota’s political culture, most notably its iron-clad commitment to political correctness, the strange shooting of Justine Damond may never get an honest investigation, says Ann Corcoran, who has followed the refugee influx into more than 300 U.S. cities and towns over the past decade.
The influence of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and Muslim politicians like Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is enormous and cannot be overstated, Corcoran said.
“This is conquered territory, so they will never even ask the pertinent questions, let alone get to the answers,” said Corcoran, who blogs at Refugee Resettlement Watch.
“Just imagine if the situation had been flipped and it had been a young, attractive Muslim woman who called 9-1-1 and ran out in her pajamas, thinking she was going to get help, only to be shot and killed by a white officer,” Corcoran added. “Think about the outcry that would have sparked from Minneapolis’ liberal mayor and her cohorts. They would have played the race card and the religion card immediately. But because it was a black Muslim officer, you hear nothing about race or religion as a possible motivator.”
Corcoran said she also doubts there will be any calls to the Minneapolis hate-crimes hotline.