Open thread: The latest Minneapolis police shooting

The scene in south Minneapolis where a woman was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

There is very little information to be had in the latest killing by a Minneapolis police officer, this time in the city’s Fulton neighborhood where a 40-year-old Australian woman who reported a possible assault in an alley ended up shot to death on Saturday night.

“My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” said Zach Damond, who said in a Facebook video that he’s the son of the woman’s fiance. “These cops need to get trained differently. I just know she heard a sound in the alley, so then she called the police, and the cops showed up. … Next thing I know, they take my best friend’s life.”

Making the effort to get to the bottom of what happened more difficult is the fact the two officers involved did not have their body cameras turned on, nor did the squad camera record the fatal shooting, MPR News reported.

Why not?

It’s not yet clear. Minneapolis Police Department policy does not allow for manual deactivation “for an arrest, DUI, Use of Force, traffic stop or a ‘Significant Incident’.”

The cameras can start recording automatically when officers respond to an event, and the the officers are supposed to verify before putting their unit in service that the equipment is working.

“I have questions about why the body cams weren’t on,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said during a Sunday afternoon news conference.

Assistant Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed that the body camera program is fully implemented in Minneapolis but Arradondo wouldn’t say why the cameras didn’t work.

In a department that increasingly struggles with credibility, one would typically hope that would be among the first questions asked of those involved. “Did the police officers turn the cameras off?” is a yes/no question, the answer to which could give the mayor and public a measure of comfort, although that’s not the primary mission of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, of course.

And if the officers didn’t turn them off, how is it that both officers’ cameras didn’t work record the incident?

If there’s no video, the word of the officers about what happened will be the only version of the story, since there didn’t appear to be any witnesses.

In other words, we appear to be left with the situation the $4 million investment in the cameras was supposed to eliminate.