Australia Today

Family of Justine Damond, Australian Shot By Police, Suing Minneapolis PD

The lawsuit claims gunning down an unarmed woman in her pyjamas was a violation of her civil rights.

by VICE Staff
23 July 2018, 11:50pm

Image via Justine's Linkedin profile

The family of the Australian woman who was shot dead by Minneapolis Police after calling 911 is suing two police officers, along with the city.

Justine Ruszczyk Damond was shot dead by ex-officer Mohamed Noor after she reported what she suspected to be a case of sexual assault in 2017. She was at home in South Minneapolis, alone in her pyjamas, on a hot night in July, when she heard concerning noises from outside. Worried, she called 911.

"I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped," she told the operator, as reported by the ABC, "but I don't think she's enjoying it."

A while later a police car showed up, but apparently drove down the alleyway running alongside Justin's house. Evidence suggests Justine then ran into outside to flag down the car, only to be shot by Mohamed Noor, who was still in the vehicle.

He was later charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and was released on $541,000 bail ahead of trial.

Now, Justin’s family have filed a civil suit against Mohamed Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity, who was riding in the car at the time. They’re accused of concealing evidence, including dashboard or body camera footage from the night.

The suit claims if they hadn’t covered up evidence, “there would be video and audio recording of the fatal shooting of Justine, and Harrity and Noor would not be free to concoct a story in a vain attempt to insulate Noor from civil and criminal liability,” reports the ABC.

The lawsuit also claims that the two officers were poorly trained and apparently unsuitable to serve as armed officers. As it explains, the city once forced potential officers pass five psychological examinations before admittance. But since 2012, applicants only need to pass one.

The lawsuit has been filed by Justine’s dad, John Ruszczyk, and seeks some AU$67 million in damages.