Open thread: The latest Minneapolis police shooting

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.

  • Veronica

    This is 9 blocks from my step-mom’s house. All of this is super weird.

  • Veronica
    • AL287

      There’s been an update in the Star Tribune. Whether it is true or not, it states sources as saying the woman was in her pajamas talking with the driver of the police car and the second officer shot her through the door from the passenger seat.

      Just like I suspected, when the person who called saw the police drive up, she went outside to talk to them. A person with her instincts for helping others would do that.

      A 40 y.o. former veterinarian and yoga instructor in her pajamas is definitely a dangerous person who needs to be taken off the streets (sarcasm).

      There’s no video, possibly some audio from the dashcam that DIDN’T record the incident and MAYBE a recorded 911 call.

      I think we all know how this is going to turn out.

      We’re so sorry we shot your mother. We really didn’t mean to it’s just that she looked so threatening we didn’t have any other choice but to shoot her.

  • AL287

    If this was indeed a 911 call, there should be tape of the conversation between the dispatcher and the person who placed the call unless the victim hung up when the police arrived and went outside to investigate.

    The dispatchers are required to keep the caller on the line until they are sure the situation is safe.

    What the hell happened in this case?

    I’ve called about disturbances in the parking lot of my apartment building but I always used the direct line and not 911 since I live in a secured building. I live in the Forest Lake area and the Washington County Sheriff dispatcher number is given on the recording.

    This latest incident is quite disturbing and I am weeping as I write this.

    Another young life has been snuffed out and a family devastated.


    What will be the excuse this time?

    • Gary F

      Why hasn’t this been released? Is this not public record? The longer we go without some more information the more people just developing their own narrative and facts on this.

      • AL287

        The public has no choice but to come to their own conclusions when the BCA and the police department are so tight lipped about shooting incidents involving police officers and the public at large.

        This kind of handling of police shootings only encourages “false news” which is what I am assuming you are referring to in your post. Enough with the semantics. Just say “false news.”

        The police would be better off releasing the name of the victim and the officers involved as soon as the victim’s family can be notified.

        In this case her family lives in Australia. I just hope her family down under heard this first hand from the Minneapolis police department and not on the local news.

  • Ralphy

    If an officer is so scared they shoot first, without truly assessing the threat and exploring options, they shouldn’t be a police officer any more.
    This assumption of imminent danger and shooting first as a defense may help ensure their safety but it is making our communities more dangerous. More and more, people do not call call the cops over fear of being shot. Until the blanket immunity that the police seem to currently have is lifted, and officers are held responsible for their crimes, this will never stop.

    I am concerned that the body cameras are routinely not turned on, in defiance of policy. That in itself should be grounds for dismissal.

    • theoacme

      Then perhaps it should be a state law that all body cameras are turned on when a policy like the Minneapolis Police Department’s current policy indicates that they should be, failure to obey this law must be punished by:

      a) termination of the employment of all officer(s) involved (including any person who attempts any coverup),
      b) permanent banning of said officers’ right to own a firearm of any kind, anywhere in the United States, and
      c) permanent banning of said officers’ opportunity to work in any law enforcement capacity, anywhere in the United States ever again.

      • Jesse

        Send this to your rep. I spoke to ours about criminalizing the non-use of body cams you can write him an email online

    • jon

      Police safety above all else. See a dog, assume it’s threatening, shoot it. See a person, assume they a threat, shoot them.

      In other news police didn’t shoot some one in long lake park who (according to the police) was asking to be shot.

      As for the body camera… why do they even have an off button available to the end users? make them always on unless they are plugged in at the station charging.

      • Kassie

        As much as I’m all for using the cameras whenever on duty, I do believe the police are also human and should be allowed to use the bathroom or call their spouse without it being recorded, just like the rest of us. It has to have an off button.

        • I don’t think this execution took place while the cop was sitting on a toilet.

          • Kassie

            The question was why is there an off button. The answer is because there are legitimate reasons to turn off the camera. I’m not defending having it off in this case.

          • RBHolb

            If there is an off button, who has the discretion to decide when it is used? Or–more importantly–when it is turned back on (“Gosh, I just stopped for a potty break, and forgot to turn it back on before I shot that dangerous 40-year old who was standing outside the closed door of a police car!”)?

          • Jesse

            There are lots of legitimate reasons Chicago Union suing because the cameras didn’t turn off when they were supposed to. That being said they need to be on with all interactions with public in public. Non-used needs to be a criminal offense

        • jon

          A private button to flag a time period (5-15 minutes) as private and require an additional authority to unlock (police chief? union rep? city council? mayor? citizens committee? Court order?) could provide protection for the officers privacy and still show what happened when an unexpected shooting broke out while the officer was on the toilet…

          I’ve worked places where I was recorded the entire time I was on the premise… I don’t think police should be held to a lower standard than those in the banking or fast food industries where employees are under constant surveillance…

          • Kassie

            So other people in other jobs are treated badly, so police officers should also be treated badly? I’m never going to buy into this argument. Whether it be I shouldn’t get a pension because others don’t get pensions or that people who work in Minneapolis shouldn’t get sick leave because people who work in Richfield don’t. It is completely reasonable and fair to expect no one in any occupation be recorded while using the bathroom.

          • jon

            I’m not pitching the argument that anyone should be treated badly. I’m not sure where that is coming from.

            If being recorded, and no one viewing those recordings is being treated badly then I guess I don’t have a place to start the conversation. I guess the mere existence of body cameras is treating police badly, and I disagree with that very premise. Accountability is not the same as being treated badly…

          • Kassie

            If no one is viewing, why record? What you are suggesting is that someone can view the times they are using the bathroom or talking to their spouse and I’m against that. When someone is on break, they are not working and there is no need to record.

          • jon

            If nothing happens there is no need to go back and review the video. No reason for any authority to unlock the video marked private for review…
            If something happens then there is every need to go back and review the video, regardless of what was happening just prior to that, even if the officer deemed it private.

            As Dave put it, anything can happen any time.

            Edit: or from my banker or cashier example, no one looks at the video if the till numbers come up right… they only look when the till comes up low.

          • Kassie

            Of course, there is a big difference between private corporations and government. Once a government record is made (a video) it falls under government records laws which include releasing them to the public. Someone would have to review every one if a member of the public asked for them.Also, were you really recorded in the bathroom? For sure not as a cashier at a restaurant because those are public bathrooms.

          • jon

            Yes I’ve worked places with cameras in the bathroom (none visible pointed into stalls.)

            Is reviewing and releasing the video from squad car a burdensome task for the police department’s right now? Are the inundated with freedom of information act requests to review that video already?

            Are the police forces refusing license plate tracking systems because it’s creating more data that could be requested via a FOIA request? Because what I’m seeing is the only place where police won’t collect data because of the risk of a FOIA request is when it is information on the police rather than the public.

        • Postal Customer

          Completely disagree. Anything at all could happen during that time. We can no longer afford to take that risk.

          Body cameras should be ON during their entire shift.

          • Kassie

            Anything can happen on their way home from work too. Or when they are eating dinner with their family. Should they have to wear them then also?

          • Postal Customer

            We could discuss hypotheticals all day.

            Body cameras should be ON during their entire shift.

          • Kassie

            I don’t think going to the bathroom or eating a meal during a break is a hypothetical. What I do during my meal break is none of my employer’s or the public’s business and I think body cameras should be OFF during those portions of their shifts. Additionally, I think they should also be OFF when speaking with union representation and while using the bathroom. Obviously we disagree, but other than by introducing very unlikely hypotheticals no one has given me a compelling argument why a police officer shouldn’t be able to turn off the camera during bathroom and meal breaks.

          • Laurie K.

            No one has given you a compelling argument to YOUR satisfaction. I think that the argument has been made and many people agree that when you are dealing with a publicly funded profession that has legally been given the authority to use deadly force, there needs to be a higher level of accountability. It is clear that you disagree, which is your right, but I do think that valid arguments have been made.

          • jwest8

            Two words why they aren’t always on: battery life. Meet the real world on that one.

          • Laurie K.

            Two words for that problem “backup battery”…

  • AmiSchwab

    how long will it take before nothing happens with this incident?

    • RBHolb

      There are steps to go through. First, a police union rep will have to tell the public that this woman made a frenzied attack on the officer, and that he thought she was pointing at least one gun at him.

  • When I did police work back in the 80s, my attitude was that “protect and serve” extended to everyone with whom I had contact. Now it seems as if there is too often an us vs. them mindset that clouds judgement and leads to leapfrogging reasonable conflict resolution and goes straight to using a firearm.

  • John O.

    At what point does the usual “it’s a training issue” get tossed to the curb and the question becomes one of whether or not to retain Chief Harteau?

  • Gary F

    I wonder how long it will take to get some more details on the situation? I can see the legality of releasing data into an ongoing investigation, but the more details that are hidden means the public starts making their own story, which will be perceived by many as fact.

    • echoegami

      All of the “details” will come from the police statement so we’ll never know the truth.

  • Cosmos

    I don’t believe we will ever know the truth. I believe the police will spin and lie and heavily edit their version of the shooting. Without any video or multiple witnesses, how will we know?

    Was the victim armed? Did she have a knife? Another weapon? What made the officer fear for his life?

    When I see a middle age white woman shot in an affluent part of Minneapolis and two dogs shot all in a week, I wonder about the attitude and culture of the police force, and these incidents drive home even more why black people are afraid of the cops.

    Why can’t the police look at this and see there’s a problem? The cop culture of shoot first, spin what happened and be defended by the union and the blue brotherhood second, has got to stop.

    • Jesse

      In the warrant issued by the “independent” investigating Authority officer O’Brian swore an oath under perjury that he expected to find drugs a knife and writings. There is no way he had probable cause to suspect these things would be there. The only purpose for putting those in the warrant was in hopes of digging up dirt and protecting the shoot. I urge everyone on here to call the BCA and express your disgust 651 793 7000
      And judge Lori Martin who rubber-stamped it 612 543 0861.
      Should also write your representative to request a real impartial agency investigates these shootings

  • Gary F

    From Star Trib, yikes

    Three sources with knowledge of the incident said Sunday that two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door, sources said. No weapon was found at the scene.

    • Jerry

      Probably explains why the cameras were off.

  • Barton

    Okay. So. How to bring this into the discussion, because I think it is important to the discussion…..

    Many of the people I follow on FB are local activists. Many are people of color. Their reaction to the shooting/murder/killing is a bit angry, resigned, and annoyed. Not just because it is another death caused by a metro area cop that makes zero sense. But because now it is a photogenic white woman shot by a “Somali cop.” The worry is that the rhetoric isn’t going to be about the police, but about the color of the cop’s skin. The worry is that now it is about race and not about the quality of our police officers and the quality of their training (or lack thereof). The concern is that this victim IS being considered a victim immediately by the media, whereas Mr Castillo & others were not considered such immediately by the media.

    I admit to stalking the posts by these acquaintances because I have nothing to offer them: I think they are right to be worried. Because part of me immediately thought, well a jury won’t ignore a pretty white woman victim.

    • Barton

      Please don’t eviscerate me with your comments…..

    • KTN

      What jury – there will be no trial in this case. The coward will only have to utter the magic words “I feared for my life” and that will be that.

      • Exactly.

      • Barton

        I think this one WILL go to trial. And I think that the results will be different but that it still won’t be enough to change things for the better.

    • Jerry

      It’s a very valid concern. When it comes to African-American men, people are capable of amazing mental gymnastics to justify a shooting.

    • RBHolb

      I’m also glad you brought up race.

      I think a lot of us, although we are probably ashamed to admit it, took some mental refuge in the fact that the recent police shootings have not happened to people like us. Middle-aged (or older) white people in relatively affluent neighborhoods, with no outward manifestations of mental or emotional issues, were pretty much exempt from danger. We weren’t going to be shot. No matter what happened to a young African American man on the north side, our interactions with the police would largely be confined to crime prevention officers coming to our block club meetings and reminding us to lock our windows.

      That has changed. We formerly exempt people are now going to have to wonder if we are in danger from law enforcement. Do we call the police when we hear something happening, or do we ignore it, to prevent a firefight? All of the stories about fear of the police that we were able to dismiss as partially overreactions are part of our lives now, too. We now get a sense of what people of color have been living with for years.

      So no evisceration is necessary. We’ll let you know when it is.

      • Barton

        Just give me a bit of warning when evisceration is necessary so I can put my big girl pants on. 🙂

    • Barton, you shouldn’t need to worry about being eviscerated…the plain fact is that incidents like this have a value precisely because the victim is pretty, white, and middle-class. Those factors are undeniable, and there’s no shame in acknowledging them. What we must hope is that these white, professional, middle-class people, who possess virtually all of the political and economic control of the justice system, and legislation related to justice and law enforcement, may develop at least a modicum of will and interest, recognizing that they too are in danger from law enforcement run amok. Clearly, the excessive body count among black and brown folks hasn’t stirred any action.

    • lusophone

      Well put. This is very important to the discussion.

  • As long as the burden of proof in these cases is to prove that the officer didn’t “fear for his well-being” these incidents will continue. I understand that policing can be dangerous, we all do, but when the only defense a “peace officer” needs to provide is that his mind set was one of fear for personal safety, that’s pretty much a license to kill. The law must be changed to provide for determining the legitimacy of a threat, but how many politicians are willing to stand up and say, “Enough.” Maybe this will be a watershed, now that we have a case of a pretty, respected, middle-class white woman executed for what, at this point, seems to be the crime of calling the cops for assistance. This happens to black people pretty regularly, of course, but now a whole new demographic has to face the reality of thinking, “If I call a cop, am I risking my life?” If I approach a cop on the street, might I be killed (but if I cross the street to avoid the interaction, will I appear suspicious and get killed for that?) My mom raised me with the simple lesson, if you have a problem, look for a police officer. I’ve had to teach my children how to (hopefully) survive a traffic stop–and, lately, “think twice before you dial 911. Could be the last call you make.”

    • Jesse

      Policing isn’t in top 10 of dangerous professions. Cops using that to justify killing people such b******* we need to flip the script. Beings there’s a thousand citizens killed by police year and only 33 police killed by citizens. Arithmetic would say that we’d be 6 times more Justified in shooting a cop because we feared for our safety. I wonder if there would be an equal protection argument to be made?

  • jwest8

    No one said the cameras didn’t work. No policy says the cameras have to be on at all times. It wasn’t a “significant event” till the shooting. Maybe the driver of the squad should be grateful he wasn’t hit by his partner’s bullet.
    Why has there been no release of the official incident report? Has it even been written yet? I called and was told there is no public report available despite the long elapsed time since the incident.

    • Cosmos

      I’m guessing the officers need to meet with the union rep and an attorney before they give an official statement. There is no benefit to the officers to rush this process, they need time to get their stories to match.

      • jwest8

        MPD policy says reports, especially use of Force are to be completed by the end of the shift. There is no report in their system about this case.

  • jwest8

    And, where is the police chief? You know, the one who is always available for a photo shoot until something serious happens.

    • Jerry

      Even though she may be in command, I have my doubts whether Harteau is actually in charge of the department.

  • Vince Tuss

    Here is the Minneapolis police procedure for body cam use. I am thinking if they are in the car and haven’t gotten out, then they wouldn’t have their camera on:

  • AmiSchwab

    just read german news. in 2016 german police killed 11 people, wounded 25 and pointed their weapons at 68 people. germany has about a quarter of the population of the states in comparison. something is seriously wrong with police training, society or whatever in the usa.

    • Kassie

      I imagine most police officers in major cities have each pointed their weapons at at least 68 people. Could you imagine what American numbers would look like if they recorded numbers like that?

  • 4YrMigraine

    I agree to a point with that last statement about being able to remove race and class from this latest incident and discussion. However, I think it is despicable that to feel like we can ONLY come to address the root problems of police misconduct when it involves a non poor, white victim without the criminal record. ALL of these incidents of police killing innocent people are worthy of everyone’s complete attention. But I guess it must be demonstrated to affect the masses before certain folks will sit up and take notice–YOU TOO are at risk. It’s a crying shame.

  • What hasn’t been said (or if it has, I missed it) is that there must surely be in-car audio of this encounter.

  • John O.

    It’s Monday afternoon. Where is Chief Harteau?

    • Issued a statement a little while ago:

      “I want to acknowledge the pain and frustration that family and community members have following the fatal officer involved shooting on Saturday night. This is clearly a tragic death.

      I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death. I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.”

      • Jerry

        That took two paragraphs to say absolutely nothing.

      • John O.

        Translation: blah, blah, blah. The usual talking points. Still doesn’t answer the question of “Where’s the Chief?” She should be in front of the media, answering questions herself.

        • jwest8

          She is on vacation. Which is apparently more important than critical incidents in MPD.

          • John O.

            I mean, gosh, it’s only made headlines AROUND THE WORLD. She’s paid (IMHO) to be the face of MPD at times like this. It’s part of the job.

  • Tony Davies

    Or video cameras were on, did record, and were subsequently tampered with to delete recordings

  • dukepowell

    Until the facts are determined, everyone needs to calm down…..

    After reading these comments, it appears that all of you were witnesses…

    • KTN

      There were no witnesses – only the cowards with guns, and we all know what punishment they will get for murdering an innocent women in her pj’s, after calling the same murderers about an alleged crime. But sure, continue your apologizing for the police.


  • Robert Price

    I live in Australia. This is getting blanket news coverage here as you can imagine.

    In this country the police know that the population, in general, is unarmed. Very, very few people own guns so that fear of being shot by some random member of the public doesn’t exist.

    Likewise, we would not hesitate to run towards a police car if we had called them for some urgency. I guess the investigation will determine what actually happened but as an Aussie I can see why she would not fear running towards a police vehicle.

    • AL287

      Your post helps explain why she would have acted in the manner she did. It also goes along with her strong instinct to lend a helping hand knowing her professional background and her profession.

      Unfortunately, in many cities in the U.S., the public is afraid of the police and the last two years have only reinforced that fear.

      If it wasn’t for your country’s news organizations, we would have waited even longer just to know her name.

    • lusophone

      Used to kinda be like that here too, at least among the white population, POC have always had a reason to fear the police. I don’t even gesture hello to a cop now for fear that it might be misinterpreted.

  • lindblomeagles

    It was just a matter of time. All that blanket immunity the nation kept giving police officers who shot unarmed Black children and men simply emboldens some officers to keep doing their jobs improperly. Even MPR’s Tom Weber allowed a juror in the Philando Castile trial to talk intellectually about the difficult of a police officers’ job, the so-called broad, ambiguous law, and the loose case the prosecutor presented about the officer’s conduct. Our society has given cops the message that we will believe anything they say, and not hold cops accountable when they decide to be judge and jury on the streets where few, if any people, are actually watching. We ENABLE cops to fear, and fear again, INNOCENT people every time we suggest their jobs are so difficult that they have to make quick decisions in fractions of a second or risk death. Our whole naïve support of law enforcement has been like a person giving car keys to an overly drunk buddy, somebody who is clearly too drunk to drive, while saying, “So long chum. See you tomorrow.” Who were we really kidding? Did we really think some cops would target Black people and Black people alone, or were we so sure white residents are so innocent that they could never be gunned down by a police officer in their own neighborhoods?

  • hennypenny

    Where is the staged community outrage? Why hasn’t 94 been shut down by protesters waving “Australian lives matter” signs? Haven’t we learned anything about proper outcry and response in these situations?

    • Using a woman’s death to troll Black Lives Matter? Classy. But it ignores the commonalities between the shootings of black people and this women. There is outrage as even a short attention paid to the story would have revealed to you.

      And for the same reasons.

  • My predication as to how this will be explained:

    Accidental discharge.

    Noor had his firearm in his lap, safety off, and it discharged…past his partner, through the open driver’s side window and striking the victim.

    • DavidG

      And THAT (firing past his partner) is probably what will will get him in trouble. Not the killing.

      • Most likely…

        The “accidental discharge” scenario is the only rational explanation to this incident.

        • lusophone

          If she ran up to the police car or was passionate in her discussion with the police and had a cell phone in her hand and maybe raised it while speaking with them, I could see how the police could say they thought it was a gun and she was going to shoot. Not defending the police, but I could foresee this scenario too. I also think the accidental discharge is a strong possibility.

          • AL287

            The many news reports that I’ve read said the other officer reached across his partner in the driver seat and shot the victim.

            An accidental discharge would have injured his partner and possibly the officer firing the weapon, not the victim and the bullet would have lodged in the door.

            You have to have your finger on the trigger for the gun to discharge.

            The burning question everyone has is what was the officer thinking? The safety might have been off because he was responding to a possible assault. However, it would be quite foolhardy to have a weapon with the safety off on your lap.

            I don’t know a lot about the police but I would think their guns would have been kept holstered until they got out of the vehicle and an actual threat materialized.

            If this does not go to trial for manslaughter, judging from past cases that have not been adjudicated, we will never know exactly what happened because there were no first person witnesses and no video or audio of what happened.

            Bizarre and very disturbing.

  • Dennis Brown

    Why hasn’t there been more of a community outcry? Why haven’t people set up a protest camp at the Governor’s mansion? Why hasn’t Governor Dayton issued a statement assuring us that, “Justice will be served in Minnesota?” Why haven’t people marched and shut down a freeway? Oh, wait – in this case the victim is white!!!

    • So you’re not watching the news? There has been a community outcry. And there has been protest . But it’s also been two days and I’ll also point out that in previous cases, there has been some sort of video. Not this time.

      But that’s not really of much interest to you, is it? You just wanted to troll a bit and get your racism on.

      Boy, we never saw that coming.

      Nekima Levy Pounds was one of the first voices to be raised in the shooting’s aftermath. So your intended narrative doesn’t really work.

      • Dennis Brown

        Bob, you are the person not keeping up to date. The public response is extremely low – key compared to what we would be seeing if the victim were not white. Just sayin’ . . . . . .

        • You think that’s maybe because the police killings of African Americans and people of color is disproportionate?

          • Dennis Brown

            Before commenting on that let us wait for the official investigators to release some information.

          • Laurie K.

            With respect to Bob’s comment, what will an official investigation tell you that will help you understand his comment? Fact: There is a disproportionate number of African Americans and people of color killed by law enforcement. There is nothing in this fact about the reasons for the killing, etc., it is simply a fact that according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a disproportionate number of young African Americans die in encounters with police officers.

          • Dennis Brown

            Your stated fact, without delving into the many reasons behind that fact will not be very beneficial at this point. Hopefully the official investigation will provide answers.

          • And your comparing incidents based only on race of the victim is beneficial how, again?

          • Dennis Brown

            The race of the victim is only one part of the story.