Following the murder conviction of Mohamed Noor, the Somali Muslim cop in Minneapolis who gunned down an innocent, unarmed woman, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, for no reason, new evidence has come out that Noor’s fellow cops tried to cover for him by turning off their body cams upon arrival on the scene after the shooting and telling him not to talk to anyone.
DC Clothesline (h/t Larry A) New details are emerging about the tragic shooting of Justine Damond, an Australian yoga teacher living in Minneapolis with her American fiancé, by Officer Mohamed Noor. On April 30, Noor was convicted for murder and manslaughter in Damond’s death. And now, evidence from the trial — in the form of body camera footage and 911 recordings — is being released.
On that fateful night, officer Noor was sitting in the passenger seat of his patrol car and opened fire through the driver’s side door hitting Damond at least once in the abdomen. Noor and his partner were responding to her 911 call about a possible sexual assault.
Conveniently, for Noor and his partner, it was revealed at the time that neither of them had activated their body cameras. The dashcam, we were told, was not recording any video footage either.
Now, however, with the release of this new evidence, we see that the entire department has a problem with turning off their body cameras, especially when talking to killer cops who gun down innocent women in their pajamas.
As the Star Tribune reports:
Prosecutor raised the specter of police secrecy at the trial, noting that several officers at the scene only spoke to investigators after they were subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. They also scrutinized body camera use, and the video evidence showed repeated concern at the scene for Officer Noor and his right to not speak about the shooting, even while efforts continued to try and save Damond.
Damond called 911 to report what sounded like a sexual assault in the alley near her home. When Noor and the other officer arrived, she walked to their patrol car to tell them what was happening. Within in minutes of her talking to the officer who was in the driver’s seat, Noor reached across the driver and shot Damond in the abdomen, killing her.
Here is Justine’s 911 call moments before she was killed:
Since 2016, Minneapolis has required all officers to wear and activate body cameras “at all times when they could reasonably anticipate that they may become involved in a situation for which activation is appropriate.
But these officers conveniently managed to turn off both of their body cameras and the dashcam before entering the alleyway in response to Damond’s call about an alleged sexual assault taking place behind her home.
What’s more, nearly every officer on the scene whose body cameras were actually working, either turned it off or were caught helping Noor, advising him to stay quiet.
When other officers arrived at the scene where “shots were fired,” once they realized that Noor was the shooter of the pajama-clad woman, they immediately began coaching Noor and turning off their body cameras.
When Officer Jesse Lopez arrives on the scene, he tells Noor, “You all right, kiddo? Just keep to yourself. Keep your mouth shut until you have to say something.”
Then, even more disturbing is the fact that when Noor’s supervisor, Sgt. Shannon Barnette showed up and saw Justine Damond dying in the street, Barnette called Damond’s phone. “Hey Justine, this is Sgt. Barnette, Minneapolis police,” she said. “Say I know you called in the unknown trouble call of a woman screaming and I have a question for you, it’s pretty important.”
Prosecutors also brought up damning evidence against Barnette at the trial. According to KARE 11, Barnette admitted in testimony that she did not mean to record the below video. Her body camera captured it, without sound, because the cameras include a 30-second cache prior to pushing the button.
Prosecutors say Noor is demonstrating to Barnette how he fired the shot. “Did you find out the direction he shot?” someone asked Barnette. “He was in the car,” she replied.
But on the witness stand, as KARE reports, Barnette said Noor never told her anything about the shooting, even though under MPD policy she was supposed to ask a couple of basic questions, like the direction of the shot.
Barnette is also captured on her own body camera turning it off and on. “The blue wall of silence is alive and well,” Lawyer Bob Bennett, who negotiated a $20 million settlement for Damond’s family, said of the content of the videos. “Who were they protecting and serving?”
Joseph Daly, an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, had a similar view about the impact of the body-camera videos, according to the Star Tribune.
“I think the public is going to see a conspiracy of silence,” said Daly. “The public’s going to look at this and say, ‘Is this what police officers do all of the time when they get in trouble? They tell them to keep their mouth shut?’ ”