Harteau on Damond killing: 'Justine didn't have to die'

The police chief makes her first public appearance since Justine Damond was shot dead by an officer.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau says she has spoken with the fiance of Justine Damond and told him the 40-year-old's death "should not have happened."

Harteau was on vacation out of state when Damond was shot dead by 5th precinct officer Mohamed Noor on Saturday night, and spoke before local media for the first time Thursday evening.

She told reporters "Justine didn't have to die," based on the information released so far by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Star Tribune's live stream of the press conference shows.

Harteau spoke with Justine Damond's fiance, Don Damond, who expressed fears that this incident will deter people from reporting crimes in the future. 

Damond died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen after approaching a squad car shortly after calling in a possible sexual assault near her home on Washburn Ave. S.

Harteau revealed she has not spoken with Officer Noor, who has been a Minneapolis police officer for two years, since the incident, the Star Tribune notes.

She did however say she'd prefer he speak with the BCA, something he has chosen not to do yet.

Harteau addressed the issue of the officer bodycams not being turned on during the shooting, saying that should not have happened.

She also said that the race or ethnicity of neither Noor or Damond played no role in this incident, but admitted the incident has had "a negative impact on community trust we built."

Hodges says bodycam policy must change

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges also spoke out on Thursday, publishing a blog post in which she said the failure by police to record bodycam footage of Damond's shooting "cannot happen again."

She put the lack of bodycam footage down to either a gap in policies, a gap in training, a violation of policy, or "some combination of these things."

And she wants police to learn lessons from this incident "to ensure the next time we want to see bodycam footage of a police encounter, we have it."

Among the policies she wants to see are the following:

– Bodycams should be active the moment an officer begins responding to a call, whether it comes from dispatch or is initiated by the officer.

– More footage is recorded than has been recently, with Hodges saying MPD records "significantly less" than officers in nearby cities.

– Training to emphasize "shared, community expectations" that officers will record all video allowed under policy and law.

– An independent audit of the bodycam program sooner than planned. Currently state law requires an audit every two years, Hodges wants one eight months after the cameras were introduced.

Next Up

Related