What say you?

A little more than a week ago, Justine Damond was shot and killed by officers responding to a call about a potential sexual assault. Unfortunately, it is all too common to pick up a newspaper or see internet headlines and seeing a police-involved shooting. But this one, in many ways, illustrates a problem — several problems actually — with the current state of not only police training but the public’s confidence (or lack thereof) in the police.

Justine Damond, an Australian currently residing in Minneapolis, did what any law-abiding person should do when they think a crime is going down. She called the police. She not only called once but she called at least twice because it was taking so long for a unit to respond and she was worried. You see, she heard something near her backyard that made her fear a woman was being assaulted.

On her last call, she was informed the police were almost there. That’s where things go from real to surreal.

The police unit nears and Damond goes outside. As she neared the squad car, a shot rang out and she went down.

Damond, who was (iirc) in her pajamas and who was unarmed wasn’t shot and killed by the suspect. Nor was she shot and killed by a well-intentioned neighbor. No, she was shot and killed by one of the two officers responding to her call for help.

What makes this case even more of a head-scratcher is that she was approaching the squad car from the driver’s side. However, instead of the driver pulling his service revolver and firing, the shot came from the passenger in the car. This officer unholstered his weapon, aimed across his partner and opened fire. My first thought in hearing this was that his partner would be lucky to get out of that with little to no permanent damage to his hearing. The second was to wonder what the officer saw that his partner, the man closest to the supposed threat Damond presented, did not.

Where this entire incident is troubling is two-fold. The first is that the officers’ body cameras were not rolling. Now, this might be departmental policy. I’ve read that Minneapolis police aren’t required to engage their cameras until they get out of their squad cars. If so, it is a foolish policy. Those cameras, as well as their dash cams, need to be rolling as they near a scene. Any cop with more than a month’s experience on the job will tell you things can and do happen before you arrive at the address where a call originates from. It can be as simple as seeing the suspect walking down the street to getting a better picture for later (as in for court) about what the cop is walking into and what helped form their judgment and caused them to act a certain way.

In this case, we are missing all this. The driver of the squad car said they heard a loud noise and that startled them. Unfortunately, there is nothing to back him up on that. And, to the best of my knowledge, that includes his partner, the shooter. As of last night, when I last searched out information on the case, the shooter had yet to make a statement. Oh, he apparently talked to a friend who said he was startled when Damond came running toward them. But that has been all I’ve seen where the shooter is concerned.

And, frankly, if he was startled by a woman running toward him in her pajamas, there were still steps he should have taken before shooting her. He should have ordered her to stop and hold her hands where he could see them. He should have told his partner to move the car. Those are just two things. But, to the best of my knowledge he did none of them.

Now, according to the friend, he is upset because he is being thrown under the bus by other cops. Perhaps, then, it is time for him to give a statement and tell everyone his side of the story. Otherwise, all we have is conjecture.

Oh, and a supposed witness who may or may not have seen the shooting. The witness most definitely saw what happened afterwards and can testify about the demeanor of both officers involved.

This is a tragedy that never should have happened. I am a supporter of cops and all first responders. However, I look at situations like this and wonder if it was poor training, poor trigger discipline or what that brought about this situation. Sure, Damond should have waited for the cops to tell her to approach but she did what I’m sure any number of us would have done, especially after having to wait for the unit to arrive. She ran forward to, presumably, tell them why she called.

And she paid for it with her life.

It is situations like this that cause the public to lose confidence in our police. I applaud the Minneapolis mayor for asking the police chief to resign. Between this incident and others in the city, it was one step they mayor could take to show the public she was not going to sit still and wait for a repeat. However, it doesn’t bring back Damond. Nor does it answer the questions we all have about why the officer fired.

Worse, there have been stories alluding to the fact the officer has been involved in other incidents that bring his judgment or actions as a cop into question. I’m sure we will hear more about that as the case progresses. My fear is that we will learn this is a cop who should not have been on the street but was allowed to remain there for who knows what reason. If so, I hope to hell Damond’s family and fiance sue the shit out of the city and the cop.

There are a lot of good, reliable and caring cops out there. Just like we don’t see good news reported in the media, we don’t hear about them. That gives us a jaundiced view of our police forces and makes the job harder for those who are good cops. My one hope is if, as I suspect, this turns out to be a bad shooting, the cop feels the full force of the law. That’s not because of his sex or his race or his beliefs or anything except he is a cop and cops should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen in situations like this.

God’s rest, Ms. Damond, and I hope your family eventually finds peace. I doubt there can ever be any understanding in this situation.

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  1. Posted July 24, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I don’t feel I know enough about this case to form conclusions; very little information has been released, and we’ve seen in other high-profile cases that new evidence can make a huge difference. There is speculation that the officer involved had inadequate training, that the MPD had lowered its standards because of a shortage of officers, that the MPD had lowered its standards because of pressure to create a more “diverse” force, that Harteau was fired for political reasons, that the officer will receive favorable treatment because of his ethnic background, that he will be unfairly treated because of his ethnic background. So far I’ve read nothing that supports any of that. All I’m certain of is that, as usual, people are reading what information there is through the prism of their political leanings.

    And yeah, I’ve got a prism too, and I find some of those speculations more compelling than others, but I’m trying really hard to tromp on the tendency to speculate until we do have more information.

    I do have trouble imagining a scenario in which this shooting could be justified, but then, I’m merely a fiction writer, not a lawyer.

    • Posted July 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      I’ve tried to stay open-minded on this but it;s part. Part of it is that prism you mentioned. Part is having worked with cops once upon a time and knowing so many good ones today. The only thing I know for sure is that there is not going to be any satisfactory answer or explanation and that is too bad because there is still someone dead who shouldn’t be.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Was the officer fast tracked over the concerns of his trainers so the mayor could gain votes in the Somali community? Indications point to yes.

    • manniep
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      You’re a fiction writer. Your stories have to be believable. True stories don’t. 😉

  2. cbpelto
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    RE: Please Wake Up

    These sort of senseless deaths are happening all the time, all over the country to all ethnicities and all ages.

    The root cause of the problem is a change in policy by law enforcement back in the early 90s, wherein they dropped the policy of using deadly force ONLY for the ‘Protection of Life’. You can read about it in….

    Deadly Force: What We Know — A Practicioner’s Desk Reference on Police Involved Shootings by Geller and Scott (©1992). See pages 274-5.

    Other incidents I’ve noticed are as follows:

    • Jonathan Ferrell — Charlotte NC, running to the police after surviving an auto accident….gets gunned down.
    • John Winkler — LA, gunned down running towards a sheriff’s deputy as he was fleeing the man who had held him hostage with a knife.
    • Michael Davidson — USAF, gunned down by a state trooper as he was walking towards him after a traffic accident he was involved in.
    • Tamir Rice — 12-year old playing in a Cleveland, OH, park with an airsoft pistol. Police shot him dead within 2 seconds of their arrival on the scene.
    • John Crawford III, 22, was fatally shot by law enforcement inside a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart on Aug. 5 within minutes of a 911 call from a fellow Walmart shopper. He was carrying a BB gun he considered buying.
    • Dillon Taylor — Unarmed. Killed by the Salt Lake City police because he moved his hands when the officer demanded he show his hands.
    • D’Andre Berghardt — Las Vegas, NV, had been walking down the highway trying to hitch a ride when police approached him. His behavior was erratic, and eventually he tried to climb inside a police vehicle — at which point he was shot dead.
    • Jerame Reid — Bridgeton, NJ, shot six times by police with his hands empty and up.
    • John Warna, Jr. — 95-year old WWII veteran shot to death—five 12 gauge bean bag rounds at close range—by police in his assisted-living room because he refused to take his medicine. The officer ‘feared for his life’ because Warna had a shoe-horn in his hand.
    • Derek Cruice — Shot in the face and killed during the botched raid in Deltona. Unarmed and half-naked, wearing nothing but basketball shorts, he approached officers breaking down the door of his house and was immediately shot.
    • Walter Scott — North Charleston, South Carolina. Unarmed and running away from Officer Slager when shot in the back.
    • Gilbert Flores, Bexer County, Texas, gunned down by police in broad daylight with his hands empty and held up in the air above his head.
    • Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, San Diego, PTSD veteran gunned down because he was walking to a police officer in his cruiser. All he had as an alleged weapon was a pen.
    • Akai Gurley, 28, Brooklyn, NY, shot to death by a scared police officer who heard a noise and fired his pistol into a dark stairwell.
    • Francisco Serna, 73, Bakersfield, CA, SWAT’d based on a neighbors call and shot dead in broad daylight for holding a crucifix.
    • Laquean McDonald, Chicago, IL, Shot in the back by officer Van Dyke while walking away from Van Dyke. Then shot multiple times by Van Dyke as he lay on the ground. It was determined he was shot 16 times. McDonald had a knife and Van Dyke claims he ‘feared for his life’. Knife found at the scene was a folding knife and was in the closed position.

    Then you’ve got Castile.

    The crucial aspect in the majority of these shootings is that the officer claims to have ‘feared for his life’.

    If any of us shot someone like these unfortunates and claimed we ‘feared for our life’, we’d go to prison. But for some reason, the vast majority of these officers don’t.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for the great comment. There are a number of reasons why we see more and more of these shootings. Part is what you’ve mentioned and part is increased media coverage (and I’m not knocking this). It is past time for bad cops to be held accountable for their actions just as it is past time for the public to stop jumping to the conclusion that every shooting is a bad shooting. Shrug. That said, I find it very difficult to see anything about the circumstances leading up to Ms. Damond’s death that would justify the officer’s actions.

      • cbpelto
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        RE: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

        It is past time for bad cops to be held accountable for their actions just as it is past time for the public to stop jumping to the conclusion that every shooting is a bad shooting. — Amanda

        Indeed. On both counts.

        The problems—internal to law enforcement—are the change in policy I mentioned earlier and the unwillingness on the part of these agencies to ‘police their own’.

        Noor should have been culled out of the force quite some time ago. But due to apparent political correctness pressure, that was impossible.

        On the other hand, it’s difficult for officers to call out the malfeasance of their ‘comrades-in-force’. They could be ostracized, passed-over for promotion, dismissed or even murdered by their own.

        Furthermore, there is the problem these agencies face if they DO remove their own or admit that officers made gross errors in judgment, resulting in the death of otherwise innocent people. Bad for their image. Hence the efforts for departments to say—out of hand—that shootings were ‘justified’. And only retract that position when evidence comes forward that cannot be denied that they weren’t.

        It’s a lose-lose situation for the departments. But which is worse? A cover-up? Or coming clean?

        Public trust of law enforcement is essential for the Law to be observed. And if that trust is—pardon the expression—blown away…..chaos…..😢

    • Alan
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      If officers are killing unarmed people because they “fear for their lives”, maybe we need braver officers.
      Or at least, to insist on 100% of our officers having the training to act with courage and discipline, and for proof of having learned so to act being necessary to retain their positions.

      • cbpelto
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        RE: None BUT the Brave

        If officers are killing unarmed people because they “fear for their lives”, maybe we need braver officers. — Alan

        That too.

        As we say in the infantry….

        We knew the job was dangerous when we took it.

        • cbpelto
          Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


          I’m reminded of reports from riots that law enforcement ‘disappeared’ in the heat of the chaos. Leaving citizens to defend themselves, their families and their property. The NYC riots of 1977 was recently mentioned on the web. An anniversary article. And I recall reports of how the Koreans in LA had to protect themselves during the Rodney King rioting.

          Again, we need more backbone in our law enforcement officials.

  3. Ainsley H
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Great post.

    As an Australian, I think we’re all just a little confused about how such a thing could happen. Having said that, we have had our own trigger-happy police officers here. Either way, it will be good to hear the facts in a court of law. It’s a horrible, seemingly inexplicable situation that needs the bright sun of justice on it so we all learn and it doesn’t happen again. It won’t put us off calling the cops next time. One thing, her name was spelled Damond. Justine Damond.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment and welcome to the blog! And thank you for pointing out the misspelling. I have gone back and corrected it. No excuse except I didn’t realize auto-correct had changed it.

      • Ainsley H
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, pleased to be here and no worries!

  4. Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    You need to check out PowerLine, since at least one of the bloggers writing there is a resident of Minneapolis and knows the players in the political realm.

    Based on what he’s saying, this joker shouldn’t have had a badge and gun, was only put on the force because the jihadi sympathizing mayor demanded it, and the mayor is doing her best to cover up what led up to this, including encouraging the Somali population to come forward with bias complaints to show that the MPD has a diversity problem.

    • manniep
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      @ snelson134:

      Adding to your post, there is speculation that Police Chief Harteau was fired because of her statement that the shooting should never have happened. That statement stopped short of using the term “unjustified,” but it was a pretty strong statement. Given the islamophilic proclivities of Mayor Hodges, who fast tracked Noor’s application, and whose only statements have been to warn against islamophobia, it is not an unreasonable assumption.

      • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        manniep, if this is true, then the mayor needs not only to be kicked out of office but made to pay. Unfortunately, the only way I can see that happening is in civil courts and most, if not all, of any judgment against her would be covered by the city’s insurance.

        • cbpelto
          Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          RE: The Civil Approach

          manniep, if this is true, then the mayor needs not only to be kicked out of office but made to pay. Unfortunately, the only way I can see that happening is in civil courts and most, if not all, of any judgment against her would be covered by the city’s insurance. — Amanda

          That approach is being attempted in the case of the shooting death of Ronald E. Carden….

          A Knoxville Police Department officer who shot an unarmed parolee in the back as he was running away and, again, after he fell to the ground cannot escape a federal civil rights lawsuit, an appellate court has ruled.

          The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals earlier this month upheld a ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan in which Varlan refused to grant KPD Officer David Gerlach immunity from a $3 million civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of the slain parolee’s son. — Article

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      SNelson, it true, it will come out. My understanding is that Ms. Damond’s family is already in the process of filing a legal suit against those involved. If their attorney is any good at all, the named defendants will include the mayor. Right now, it is easy to cast blame everywhere but it still comes down to one question, at least in my mind — did the officer react reasonably under the circumstances? A second and closely related question should then be asked: was the officer adequately trained and supervised during the course of his career with MPD? If the answer to either of those questions is “no”, then there should be a great deal of hell to pay.

  5. Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The officer is being vilified without reason. He was responding to a call about a rape, and then a woman in pajamas runs in obvious alarm toward his squad car. There was every reason to believe she was the victim of the rape. There are no male witnesses in sight. The law must take its course. What happened was normal for much of the world, which is why most women don’t report rapes. The US was a cultural oddity, now being brought back in line with the norms. This shouldn’t be cause for upset, but for rejoicing, because such incidents are better for society as a whole – at least according to the Koran and Islamic judicial thought.

    • Reformed Trombonist
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      I sure hope your sarc-ometer is on.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I was so ready to hammer you — until I got to your last sentence. Well said, sir, well said. Plus, your snarkmeter runs high with this comment.

  6. Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    1. End all diversity hires.
    2. Remove worst 5% of police from street duty – end blue wall of silence that protects bully cops.
    3. More training for non-lethal response
    4. More non-lethal weapons

    • manniep
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Remove worst 5% of police from street duty – end blue wall of silence that protects bully cops.

      What grounds do you use to do that. The police have both contracts and union representation. It damnear requires an Act of Congress to remove a cop for cause.

      • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        And that is the problem. Unions had a place in history and were needed once. Today, not so much and I have serious concerns about them being involved in such professions as health care, teaching and any of the first responder professions.

      • Alan
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Start with transparency: It is vanishingly rare that, when internal investigations determines a cop is “not at fault”, that the public finds out what they learned and why that excuses what the cop did.
        There’s the chance the public, with sufficient info, will agree — and that strengthens confidence in police training and effectiveness.
        There’s the chance the public will disagree that given the facts, the cop’s action should be excused — and that should result in modifying policy and training to better align with public values. And if policy and training are responsive to public values, that too will strengthen confidence.
        Absent the confidence of the public, police should expect to be treated as the bad guys, which is a lot more dangerous for them than learning to exercise good judgement informed by courage.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      The only thing I can disagree with you about is your 5% comment. I think it should be higher. I would add another caveat as well. All the training you mention should not only be in the various academies cops attend before getting hired but be ongoing.

      • manniep
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        They do some ongoing training, but it is pretty minimal. It is expensive and budgets are always tight. The politicians already stole most of the funds.

  7. moron
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Obviously being an affirmative action Somali policeman had nothing to do with it since there was no mention of that fact.

    • Reformed Trombonist
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Think she might have mentioned his background if the shooter/cop had been a Southern Baptist or member of the NRA?

      • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Nope because that is no more important than his country of origin. The important factors are whether he was adequately trained, adequately supervised, whether he reacted reasonably under the circumstances. Oh, I guess I’ll add one more factor I think important as well — if the cop has previous complaints against him, were they adequately investigated and was the appropriate punishment meted out? If not, then not only should the cop be held responsible for his actions but so should the MPD and the city.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Frankly, couldn’t care less what the cop’s sex, religion, background, skin color or country of origin happen to be. What matters to me is whether or not he did his job and whether he acted reasonably. From all I’m seeing, the answer to both those questions is a resounding no.

      • manniep
        Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        The problem with your statement, is that it fails to take into account the existentially incompatible differences in our cultures. The Founding Fathers neglected the danger of islam, because there were essentially none of them here, and there was no immigration from North Africa. Until a few years ago, it was not a problem because there were not enough moslems to make any difference, and the ones that came over here were the ones most likely to assimilate. But as their numbers increase, they typically become more assertive. The American born children of the earlier generation, rather than considering themselves American and adopting civilized mores, are clinging to the moslem roots, and particularly those expressed by the more vocal of their people. In other words, the islamists.

        The root cause of the problem is not religion, per se, but culture. Islam is more than a religion, it is a complete system of life, religious, political and social. It does not assimilate. It considers itself superior to all other cultures. It is aggressive. It is triumphalist. And it is volatile. Somalis may be the most volatile of the moslem cultures. They have been a thorn in Kenya’s side for centuries, if not millennia.

        Our society has not developed a paradigm to deal with islam. “All cultures are equally valid,” is a suicide pact for Civilization. Islam is existentially compatible with Civilization.

        • manniep
          Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Sorry for the tag-on. Blame lack of an edit function.

          As a demonstration of my thesis, look at Western Europe.

        • cbpelto
          Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          RE: Islam

          The root cause of the problem is not religion, per se, but culture. Islam is more than a religion, it is a complete system of life, religious, political and social. It does not assimilate. It considers itself superior to all other cultures. It is aggressive. It is triumphalist. And it is volatile. — manniep

          Sir Winston Churchill—the greatest statesman of the 20th Century—put it this way….

          The influence of the religion [Islam] paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. — Winston Churchill, 1899

          This after participating in two late 19th Century campaigns—Afghanistan and Egypt—to stop the violent raids and mass murders in both countries.

          We are participants—willing or unwilling—in the fourth phase of a millennia-long conflict.

          Phase 1 — The Islamic Expansion Offensive of the 7th & 8th Centuries. Stopped at the Battle of Tours by Charlemagne.
          Phase 2 — The European Counter Offensive, a.k.a., the Crusades.
          Phase 3 — The Turkish Offensive of the 16th and 17th Centuries. Stopped at the Battle of Vienna.
          Phase 4 — World War I and the demise of the Ottoman Turk Empire.
          Phase 5 — The Asymmetric Immigrant Invasion of Europe of today.

          • cbpelto
            Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            ERRATA: Make that ‘Fifth Phase’

            There’s too much blood in my caffeine system….😉

  8. Bryan Frymire
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Her name is/was “Damond” — not “Diamond”.

  9. Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Please check the spelling of the victim’s surname.

  10. Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I’m an East Coast transplant that has lived in Minnesota for over twenty years, the last five of which have been in Minneapolis proper. You lost em at “I commend the Mayor.” Betsey Hodges is the problem. All of her decisions during her three and a half year tenure have been predicated on political expediency, at the expense of the citizenry. Her personal goal was to obtain a cushy appointment in the Clinton administration. When that didn’t work out, she was forced to deal with the smoldering wreckage she has created in Minneapolis. There are beggars at every major intersection and highway access ramp. Retailers are leaving in droves because the mayor has numerous road construction projects ongoing, some for nearly three years. She has eliminated huge numbers of on street parking spaces and created traffic armageddon by installing bike lanes (hence the name ‘Bike Lane Betty’) on every street she can think of. The police force is demoralized as a result of the Jamar Clarke shooting two years ago. The mayor and chief of police threw the rank and file officers under the bus by allowing the three week occupation of the fourth precinct station. Cops in Minneapolis go to work everyday knowing their boss (now ex-boss) and her boss don’t have their back, and that they would throw them under the bus at the drop of a hat. Hodges’ entire administration has been about diversity and community outreach. The PD is staffed based on ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, rather than competency. That’s how you get officer Noor. The demographics show a vibrant and growing metropolis however, if you take out the tens of thousands of low skilled-non english speaking immigrants, this city is actually much worse off. Plus, the massive influx of people in need has overwhelmed the social service system at the expense of indigents who should be receiving those services. The African American community has every right to be outraged. They are pandered to for their votes but given no hope or opportunity. The schools in the black neighborhoods are terrible. Reading proficiency is in the thirty percent range. Graduation rates have risen to just over fifty percent but only because the requirements have been relaxed. Gang violence is rampant, innocent people are shot on the street in broad daylight ,and no one ever seems to get caught. But as long as the blacks stay in their North Minneapolis neighborhood, the white folk are satisfied because we do curbside composting, have mandatory paid sick leave and no longer allow styrofoam take-out containers. I’m not trying to defend officer Noor, or making light of the fact that Justine Damond has lost her life. I’m saying that the root cause is much deeper than a ‘bad cop’. It’s the culmination of Democrat rule since 1957. If you’re looking for someone to blame, look no further than City Hall. Pity the next person to be elected Mayor of Minneapolis. he or she will have a monumental challenge to get this ship back afloat no less moving in the right direction. Such is the legacy of Betsy Hodges.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for the comment. Thank you, too, for letting me know what the climate is in Minneapolis. I had not realized Hodges has been that much of a problem for you guys as she apparently is. I don’t tend to trust media reports, so I appreciate hearing what someone from that area thinks about her tenure in office.

      As I noted in another comment, I have absolutely no problem holding the mayor responsible for her part in what happened. That will, unfortunately, something for the civil courts to decide — and, ultimately, the voters.

  11. Greg
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I feel there are two issues here. First is, we have been forcing police officers into situations where police are perhaps not the best solution. The “war on drugs” we have been fighting for years has, I believe, forced a change in the role of police officers from police and patrol mission to warrior cop, which is not a good fit for our society. Second issue is it is impossible to get rid of someone who is unsuitable to be a police officer once they get past their probationary period. Police unions do a very good job of protecting their own. It looks like Officer Noor had been on the department a while, but after two years on the force, why was still assigned as a partner? From other news reports he has had disciplinary issues in the past, was he really suitable for this line of work? The latter definitely needs to be looked in to.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Greg, you raise some of the same concerns I have. I’ll add another sub-factor of sorts regarding your comments on the War on Drugs and the impact it has had on local policing. This “war” which has failed in my opinion, led to departments having to increase their hiring to levels they probably would not have had to otherwise. That’s led to having to lower the standards and, let’s face it, a change in mentality in many of those on the force. It’s hard to think of yourself as a cop and someone trying to connect with the public when you turn out in military-like uniforms, armored assault vehicles, etc. Yes, that is an exaggeration but I’m sure you get my meaning.

      As I noted earlier, I really want to know exactly what the complaints against the officer were and if they were handled in a responsible manner by the MPD. If not, if this officer has a history that should lead a reasonable person to anticipate him continuing to be a problem, then someone must be held responsible.

      What bothers me the most is seeing how difficult it is to fire bad cops. I guess part of that is because of where I live. Texas is a right to work state so, while we have unions, they don’t have the same impact down here they do in a number of other states, especially those back East. Sure, the police unions work to protect officers here but more often than not, it’s the review boards making the idiotic decisions and not the unions when it comes to officers who have been fired getting their jobs back.

  12. Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Hi, Amanda
    Can you edit this, please?
    Her name was Damond.
    Police no longer carry “service revolvers.”

    And this is egregious: ” The driver of the squad car said they heard a loud noise and that startled them. Unfortunately, there is nothing to back him up on that. “

  13. Rjschwarz
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Funny how ‘racist’ conservatives are mostly waiting calmly for more info before making making a decision on this one. It is almost as if they aren’t racist but more about knowing what happened before jumping to conclusions.

  14. Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    This article is like talking with someone about baseball scores without mentioning the thirty-foot python that is swallowing him.

    • Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Why, because I don’t care the officer was Somali? That is so far down the list of pertinent factors that it doesn’t matter. What’s important is whether he was qualified to enter the Academy (I assume he trained somewhere), did he pass his courses and the required testing, was he properly trained and supervised, did he act reasonably in the situation? I’d be asking the same questions no matter what his race, sex, creed, country of origin. But — and this is important — that has to do with his actions.

      Now, if you want to get into the liability of the city in this instance, then yes, you do have to look at whether or not the mayor or others in government helped set the stage due to their approach to hiring. However, right now, that is secondary to finding out exactly what happened and why Ms. Damond had to die. Affirmative action or not, if there was no negligence — or worse — on the officer’s part, the rest doesn’t matter, at least not in a court of law and, whether you want to admit it or not, that is where this has to go if we are to stop practices where people are hired based on what they are and not their qualifications for the job.

  15. Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Affirmative action cop (Somali) shoots when startled. Commanded by affirmative action chief of police (lesbian) who gets fired because she isn’t up to snuff by pandering progressive mayor (white with black husband) who promoted the affirmative action hires. Don’t worry, the new police chief will also be an affirmative action hire (black) to appease the angry BLM mob.

    Death by political correctness.

  16. DJ 9r
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    My comment has to do with the body cameras.

    Folks need to realize that body cams are not going to be useful in every case, and this is probably one of those cases. They are fairly rigidly anchored to the officer’s uniforms/bullet-resistant-vests so they cannot easily be dislodged during a fight, and are aimed straight forward in relation to the chest/torso, with only a moderate angle of view (not wide angle). As a result, they only show what is happening directly in front of the officer’s torso, NOT where his/her head or arms are pointing. This means that even if the officers’ cameras would have been turned on, all they would have shown is the patrol vehicle steering wheel (for the driver) and airbag/dashboard (for the passenger), along with a portion of the FRONT window view. Even during the actual act of shooting from a seated position, it’s highly unlikely a cop would even attempt to twist their upper body in such a manner that anything of value would be seen on the recording. More likely, all you would have been able to see is the officer’s arm across his chest, maybe part of the pistol, and perhaps part of the driver’s side interior of the patrol car. Add the fact that it was after dark, and I don’t think you’d have seen anything of value at all.

    The only value of the body camera in this case MIGHT have been the audio track, and that audio is also one of the primary reasons the cameras are left turned-off by officers until procedures absolutely require they be turned-on; no one wants their causal conversations recorded 24/7, as it potentially opens them up to tons of criticism for anything they say about any one of a thousand common things. In this case, the microphone (if used) might have picked up the “noise” that was said to have startled the officers, but it also might NOT have picked it up. Microphones have limitations, and they are usually far less sensitive than a human ear; and again, we have to remember they were inside a vehicle, which would also block (and possible overwhelm) exterior noises. Reasons like these are probably the primary reasons that body cams are not turned-on until cops exit the vehicle — before they get out, the cams are usually useless anyway.

  17. Dave E.
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I’m quite certain that the narrative will change as more details emerge. For example, you wrote “The police unit nears and Damond goes outside” and that she approached the vehicle from the driver’s side. That’s the impression the reporting has left, but she didn’t just go out of her house and she probably did not approach the vehicle from the driver’s side. Damond was shot at the south end of the alley. Her house is more than 200′ from there, mid-block. How did she get there? I think she walked down the alley, which means she approached the vehicle from the rear, not the side. That may or may not be a significant difference, but it is a difference. Expect more differences from what was initially reported. I strongly doubt that the shooting will end up as justifiable, but it will not be as crazy as it has been portrayed so far.

  18. grayswindir
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Hiring /training/retention issue. Was this particular officer given breaks due to his background/politics? LA learned the hard way from the Rampart scandal that lowering the requirements/standards for the sake of diversity leads to bad things happening.

    Standards, if properly validated, are there for a reason and need to be upheld.

  19. Karl
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The facts are very clear an innocent died at the hands of a peace officer who was sent to render aid. This is not a training problem this is a cowardice problem. For 20 years of my life I was a soldier, if I failed in my mission because I was afraid for my life the best I could hope for would be a dishonorable discharge after serving 10 years in prison. The worst i could expect would be stand against a wall and be shot. I accepted this in service to a greater good. Every soldier gives his or her life. Sometimes it is not taken but it is still given. Police sould be held to the same standard. If is better and more noble that peace officer give his life than an innocent lose theirs. Fearing for ones life is not an acceptable reason for murdering an innocent.

    • scott2harrison
      Posted July 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Hear Hear!!! And thank-you. You may have just put your finger on the main problem with policing in this country.

  20. Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Amanda, you can’t ignore those factors, because they are the reason an officer of questionable judgement was present, and they are inextricably linked to his response.

  21. Posted July 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for writing about the incident. Based on your blog post, there seem to be a few unsupported assertions in the official account, which you may have given credence without realizing it. I am out of the country and jet-lagged, so please apply a grain of salt and forgive me if I have missed or misinterpreted something.

    To wit:
    1) The deceased was claimed to be running toward the police car. Okay. Says who? The body cameras were off, right? So it would have to be the driver cop, correct? According to his statement, he didn’t freak out enough to unholster his gun, or did he? If not, why not? Did the deceased say anything as she approached? Did she wave to the cops, call out, or do anything else to attract their attention?

    2) Which raises the question: When did the shooter cop unholster his weapon? Did he do it before or after the deceased was first observed? Also, once the weapon was out of the holster, when did the shooter elevate the weapon past the “low ready” position and address the target? How was the shooter trained to “index” his trigger finger, on the trigger guard or on the pistol’s frame? And precisely when did he remove his finger from the index point and apply it to the trigger? What was the make and model of his duty weapon? Does the shooter’s duty weapon have a safety on the frame or not? Glocks, for example, are common police weapons and, while very reliable, have no frame safety, so once the trigger is under pressure, there is nothing to prevent the weapon from firing. Nervous tension on the trigger of any weapon can be enough to result in a negligent discharge.

    3) If the deceased was indeed wearing pajamas, what color were they? This is relevant to the cops’ ability to observe her actions in the dark.

    4) Which raises the further question: What kind of footwear did she have on? Sneakers? It’s hard to run in house shoes/flip flops/mules. Her particular footwear could make the assertion that she was running more or less plausible.

    5) Finally, the driver cop said “they heard a loud noise and that startled them”. Now, your post acknowledges there is no way to confirm this, but the timing of the noise is suspect as well. Allow me to propose that this statement could very well be a half-truth, in that the driver didn’t say (again, going by your post) exactly WHEN the loud noise happened. Was it before they spotted the deceased? After? When she was standing closest to the police car? ˆPerhaps the loud noise that startled them was Noor’s gunshot.ˆ If this were to be true, it would suggest that the driver cop initially told a half-truth to protect his partner. In which case, the driver’s first instinct to protect a fellow cop would enmesh him in a deceit that might make him an accessory after the fact (I think. I’m not a lawyer.). Did the driver characterize the noise in any way? Was the noise consistent with a voice? An explosion? I think I read that a dispatcher talked about fireworks, but that could have been influenced by an earlier 911 call or even a cop (the driver? the shooter?) intentionally mischaracterizing the noise.

    The whole thing stinks. At the very least, I think the shooter perpetrated a manslaughter and might be guilty of worse (again, grain of salt, not a lawyer, etc.).

    Blessings on the deceased and peace unto her loved ones.

  22. singlestack
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    If someone without a badge did this it would be called cold blooded murder.

  23. Orvan Taurus
    Posted July 25, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  24. Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    You do realize that the Supreme Court has already said that the cops have no duty to show up other than to bag and tag, right? Google up the phrase “going fetal” and learn wisdom.

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