Tags: justine damond | minneapolis | police chief | janee harteau

Justine Damond 'Didn't Have to Die,' Says Minneapolis Police Chief in First Words on Shooting

Image: Justine Damond 'Didn't Have to Die,' Says Minneapolis Police Chief in First Words on Shooting

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, center, at news conference. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

By    |   Friday, 21 Jul 2017 09:27 AM

Justine Damond "didn't have to die," Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said at a news conference on Thursday, her first public comment since the July15 police shooting that killed the Australian native.

Harteau said she had been on vacation where there was poor phone service.

Damond, 40, a spiritual teacher who moved to the United States in 2015 to be with her fiancée, reportedly was shot by Officer Mohamed Noor outside her home after she twice called 911 to ask police to investigate a possible sexual assault, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

She was standing at the open window of the driver’s-side door of a squad car when Noor fired from the passenger’s seat, said authorities.

"Based on the publicly released information from the (state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), this should not have happened," said Harteau, referring to a preliminary investigative report released earlier in the week.

"On our squad cars, you will find the words 'To protect with courage and serve with compassion.' This did not happen. I believe the actions in question go against who we are as a department, how we train and the expectations we have for our officers. These were the actions and judgments of one individual."

Harteau said she had not spoken out on the shooting until Thursday because she was on vacation and had little cellphone coverage in the remote mountainous area where she was staying, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"For a chief, this is a nightmare, not only to have an event like this occur but to not be here, but I assure everyone in this community that there wasn't anything that didn't get done," said Harteau.

Harteau said the focus of the investigation should fall on Noor, promising the Damond family "justice" in the case.

She rejected claims of former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann that the employment of Noor, who is Somali-American, was "an affirmative-action hire," said the Star Tribune.

"This is about an individual officer's actions," Harteau said. "It is not about race or ethnicity. We have a very robust training and hiring process. This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer. He was very suited to be on the street."

Harteau said she hopes Noor would eventually talk to investigators and not remain silent, noted the Pioneer Press.

"I would prefer Officer Noor would speak, whether it be to our internal process or the BCA," Harteau said. "There are questions that need to be answered."

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Justine Damond "didn't have to die," said Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau in her first public appearance on Thursday since the July15 police shooting that killed the Australian native.
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2017-27-21
Friday, 21 Jul 2017 09:27 AM
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