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Society

Cop Who Shot Woman Was Startled By 'Loud Sound' (Photos)

| by Michael Howard

An Australian woman was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer after he and his partner heard a "loud sound" outside of their car, according to Minnesota investigators.

Justine Damond, a 40-year-old meditation instructor and life coach, called 911 on the evening of July 15 to report a possible assault in an alley near her home. While responding officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor drove through the alley looking for the suspect, they were reportedly startled by a loud sound just outside the vehicle.

Moments later, Damond approached the driver's side door. Noor, who was sitting in the passenger's seat, fired his gun through the open window, hitting Damond in the stomach.

Damond was dead within 20 minutes, despite the officers administering CPR.

That is the version of events given by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, based on an interview it conducted with Harrity on July 18. Noor reportedly declined to give an interview.

Noor has worked for the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly two years. Harrity has been with the department for one year. Both officers are on paid administrative leave, according to CBS News.

Both officers had their body cameras turned off during the shooting. The squad car's dash cam was also turned off.

"I share the frustration and dismay that we don't have body camera footage," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said during a press conference. "We all want answers, we all want to see justice done. I ask the BCA to share as much as they can."

"We do have more information, though it’s frustrating to have some of the picture but not all of it," Hodges added, according to the Star Tribune. "We cannot compel Officer Noor to make a statement. I wish we could. I wish that he would make a statement."

David Klinger, a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said Noor's attorney may be advising him not to speak about the incident.

"Police officers are citizens," he told CBS News. "They have the same 5th Amendment right as anyone. They don't have to give a statement. His lawyer might be saying: 'You're not going to talk until I feel you're rested and not under stress.'"

Harrity told the BCA that he and Noor saw a man between the ages of 18 and 25 riding a bicycle in the area just before the shooting. He said the man watched as the officers tried to revive Damond. The BCA is asking that the witness contact them for an interview.

The bureau added that it has no future interviews scheduled at this time.

City records show that Noor has had three complaints filed against him. Two are still pending, while the third was dismissed. He was also sued recently over a May 24 incident that saw him and several other officers take a woman to the hospital for a mental breakdown. The pending lawsuit states that the officers entered the woman's home without her consent and therefore violated her rights. Noor was also accused of grabbing the woman's wrist and upper arm.

Sources: CBS News, Star Tribune / Photo Credit: Benchill/Wikimedia Commons, WCCO via CBS News, CBS Minneapolis via CBS News

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