Relatives of Justine Damond, an Australian holistic doctor and veterinarian who was fatally shot by a Somali police officer in Minneapolis, have filed a federal lawsuit claiming the police force is conspiring to cover up the crime and protect the officer.
According to the Star Tribune: the 45-page suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on behalf of Justine Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, who lives in Australia and is the trustee of her estate. The suit, which refers to her as Justine Maia Ruszczyk, seeks more than $50 million in damages.
Damond, 40, was killed on the night of July 15, 2017, after calling police to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home in the 5000 block of Washburn Avenue S. According to the lawsuit, then-officer Mohamed Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity, had completed their sweep of the alley and were starting to their next call when Noor shot Damond from inside a police SUV, striking her in the lower abdomen.
Her death, which made international headlines, led to the ouster of the city’s police chiefand a series of reforms for the department, including tightening its body-camera policy.
Noor, who was fired earlier this year, has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the first Minnesota officer in recent memory to be charged with murder in an on-duty killing.
Neither officer activated their body cameras before the shooting, footage from which might have illuminated the circumstances surrounding Damond’s death, said her family’s attorney, Robert Bennett.
“Essentially, Justine saw something, she said something, like the signs on the airport, and she got killed for doing it, and a year later we don’t know why that was, we haven’t had any explanation, so we’re going to sue these people to find out,” Bennett told reporters at a news conference Monday afternoon. “They’ll have to answer our questions soon.”
This suit has ample merit. Mohamed Noor, who killed Justine Damond, is a Somali Muslim. When Noor was hired, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed her excitement about his joining the police force:
“I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.”
Hodges was excited about Noor because he represented a religious and ethnic group that she was anxious to court. Mohamed Noor was a symbol of everything that Minneapolis officials valued most. They could point to him and say: See? We are not “Islamophobic.” We celebrate diversity. We love our Somali Muslim community, and when they see how they are loved, they will end all jihad activity, because violent jihad is just a reaction to injustices that Infidels perpetrate.
And so it was very important to the Minneapolis Police Department, and to city officials, that Mohamed Noor succeed. He graduated from a fast-track program to get onto the force in the first place. They had to have him.
But his competence as a police officer was always secondary to his ethnicity and religion. And even if he didn’t graduate, nothing would be done. To have removed him would have been “Islamophobic.”
Noor proved to be an incompetent police officer. There were three complaints against him in two years. A neighbor reported:
“He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off.“
When the neighbor heard that Noor was the cop who had shot an unarmed woman, he wasn’t surprised:
“When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh oh, but then when they said who it was, I was like, “OK.”
None of this mattered. Noor could have marched into Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ office and announced that she would henceforth be his infidel sex slave, and he would have remained on the force.
Justine Damond suffered the consequences of this identity-based policing. If the Minneapolis Police Department hired and fired police officers based solely on their fitness for the job, and not on their usefulness as symbols of Minneapolis’ commitment to diversity and resolve to fight “Islamophobia,” Justine Damond would be alive today.
Even in the wake of Justine Damond’s death, Minneapolis multiculturalists aren’t about to reconsider their religion. They are doubling down.
Hodges immediately recognized — as authorities do everywhere after jihad attacks — that the real victims are not those who were killed or wounded, but the Muslim community. She wrote on her Facebook page:
To the Somali community: I want you to know that you are a valued and appreciated part of Minneapolis. I stand with you and support you. The strength and beauty of the Somali and East African communities are a vital part of what makes Minneapolis so strong and beautiful. I am grateful to be your neighbor.
This week a Somali police officer, Officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed a woman under circumstances we don’t yet comprehend. Justine Damond’s death was tragic and awful for everyone. And I want to be very clear that Officer Noor, a fully trained officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, won’t be treated differently than any other officer.
Justine’s death is a tragedy for our city. We cannot compound that tragedy by turning to racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. It is unjust and ridiculous to assert that an entire community be held responsible for the actions of one person. That will not be tolerated in Minneapolis. If you are experiencing discrimination, you can file a complaint here.
Hodges should have issued a statement saying that she recognized that Mohamed Noor was not hired because he was competent, but because he was a Somali Muslim. And that she sees now that Leftist social engineering on the police force costs lives.
She should have promised that from now on, police officers will be hired based on their fitness for the job, not their religion or ethnicity.
Instead, she behaved as if a non-Muslim police officer had shot an unarmed Muslim woman. But that’s not what happened. And in issuing this warning, Hodges only reinforced the false premises that led to the killing of Justine Damond in the first place: the idea that Muslims are a victimized, persecuted community that needs special consideration such that an incompetent Muslim police officer had to be hired.
This just ensures that in the future, there will be more innocent people who die at the hands of Minneapolis police officers who are on the force more for their symbolic value than for their competence.