Justine Damond shooting: Australian woman’s last moments heard over US police radio

Father calls for justice after meditation coach was shot dead by Minneapolis police who had been responding to her 911 call for help

New audio has emerged of the moments all over the fatal US police shooting of Australian spiritual healer and meditation coach-and-four Justine Damond in a Minneapolis alley.

The policemen are heard communicating with their dispatcher over the police radio ,~ ATAGEND including calling for backup and their attempts to perform CPR on Sydney-raised Damond.

Shots fired … we have one down, one of the officers says.

Damonds death in the alley outside her Minneapolis home just before midnight on Saturday has devastated and outraged family, friends and left the Minneapolis community upset about the latest police shooting in their city.

Her partner, Don Damond, said he was being kept in the dark about the incident.

Don
Don Damond hugs a neighbour after reading a statement about his partner, Justine Damond, who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police. Photograph: Adam Bettcher/ Reuters

Sadly, her family and I have been provided with almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived, Don Damond told reporters outside their home in suburban Fulton on Monday local time.

We have lost the dearest of people and we are desperate for information.

He said Damonds death was a loss to everyone who knew her.

Our hearts are violate and we are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine, he said. It is difficult to fathom how to go forward without her in my life.

Her father spoke to reporters in Sydney on Tuesday and called for justice.

John Ruszczyk said that his daughter was a beacon to all of us. He then asked that the light of justice glisten down on the circumstances of her demise.

Ruszczyk said Damond was special to so many people. He said his grieving family went to a local Sydney beach on Tuesday morning and assured the blackness change to illumination.

Australian woman shot by police in Minneapolis: community responds

The police audio was posted on the Minnesota Police Clips website .

Damond, 40, called police after hearing a possible sexual assault taking place in an alley behind her Minneapolis home in what has been described as the safe, middle-class neighbourhood of Fulton.

The police audio begins with the description of a female hollering behind the building, believed to be what Damond told the dispatcher in her initial 911 call.

Damond, garmented in her pyjamas, reportedly approached the drivers side window of the police car when it arrived in the alley and an officer shot across his partner at Damond more than once from the passenger seat.

Nancy Coune, the office administrator at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Centre, where Damond taught a meditation class every Tuesday, said the centres members were still reeling from the news.

Weve come together. Were teetering backward and forward between tragic heart sick to outrage, to trying to understand it, to actually knowing that there is a greater purpose and that at some point we will come to words with this … people are fighting here, she said.

Coune was of the view that Damond had arrived at the centre about three years ago and asked to rent a space. A veterinarian surgeon by educate, she was interested in the intersection of spirituality and neuroscience. She would teach in the centres small sanctuary while sitting on the floor, wearing bright sunshine gowns or jeans with knee-high boots.

One of her students, Jay Peterson, 50, said that Damond had been through her fair share of adversity, and had lost her mom when she was young. Peterson said that Damond told him she had struggled with depression, but got into yoga and meditation and turned her life around. That experience that helped propel her to become an instructor.

She genuinely got enthusiastic about helping people have their own breakthroughs, helping people wake up, Peterson said.

When asked about Damonds personality, several people at the centre responded with the same question. Have you heard about the ducks?

On 30 June, three weeks before she died, Damond was strolling to her meditation class when she saw a group of ducks trapped in storm drainage near a lagoon. She happened to be wearing one of her dress that day and told Coune in a text message.

Guess what I only rescued 8 ducklings The mom duke was distraught and I climbed and pulled them all in my skirt. There was this moment when I think they realise I was there to help and they just started jumping to my lap, I was in bliss!

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, described as a fact-finder independent of Minneapolis police, is investigating the shooting and confirmed Damond was not carrying a weapon.

Damond may have been holding a mobile phone, which was reportedly procured near her body.

BCA crime scene personnels situated no weapons at the scene, BCA said in a statement on Monday. The BCA continues to examine evidence to determine the facts that led to the shooting incident.

The Hennepin county Medical Examiners Office has conducted an autopsy on Damond but research results have not been released.

Formerly Justine Ruszczyk, Damond took her fiances surname ahead of next months planned wedding.

The BCA corroborated the officer and his partners body cameras were not turned on and their police car dashboard camera did not capture the incident. The Minneapolis mayor, Betsy Hodges, told reporters she has a lot of questions why the body cameras are still not on.

Lt Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation representing policemen, said the federation had chosen to reserve all comment until lawsuit completion in the matter.

Teresa Nelson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, said the officers violated police policy by not turning on their body cameras.

This violation of policy thwarted the publics right to know what happened to Ms Damond and why the police killed her, Nelson said.

The two officers broke the policy not only when they didnt activate the body cameras before the incident, but also when they failed to do so after the use of force.

The Washington Post reported Damond is one of at least 524 people fatally shot by police in the US this year and and the fifth in Minnesota.

The Minneapolis-St Paul area is still reeling from the acquittal last month of a police officer who shot dead a man, Philando Castile, during a traffic stop while Castiles girlfriend livestreamed the horrifying incident.

Protests also flared after two officers fatally shot 24 -year-old Jamar Clark in 2015 and are still not charged.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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