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Attorney for police officer in Damond shooting cites fear of ambush

Officer Mohamed Noor
City of Minneapolis
Officer Mohamed Noor

Starting to see the outlines of a defense here. The Star Tribune’s Randy Furst reports: “The attorney for Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity said that ‘it’s certainly reasonable’ to believe the officers were the target of a possible ambush when his partner, officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed Justine Damond in a south Minneapolis alley Saturday night. … ‘It’s certainly reasonable to assume that any police officer would be concerned about a possible ambush under these circumstances,’ [Fred] Bruno said. ‘It was only a few weeks ago when a female NYPD cop and mother of twins was executed in her car in a very similar scenario.’”

One of the big questions. The New York Times’ Julie Bosman reports: “It has happened in high-profile, fatal police shootings in Chicago, Los Angeles and now in Minneapolis: An officer fired a gun, but his body camera was turned off. … Body cameras have been rapidly adopted in police departments across the country in recent years, as scrutiny of police conduct has mounted. But officers often fail to turn cameras on at crucial moments, depriving investigators and the public of video evidence that could be revealing.

Solar’s future in Minnesota is … bright. Nick Fouriezos reports: “Minnesota is on a hot streak in converting sunlight into usable power. The state tripled its solar energy capacity through the first quarter of this year. And, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, it has increased solar output twelve-fold since 2015. … The vast majority of that energy has been led by state utility Xcel, including the 100-megawatt North Star and Aurora Solar projects. Yet while Minnesota still lags in total wattage, trailing industry leaders such as California, North Carolina and Arizona, the Gopher State is the epicenter of one nation-topping experiment: community solar, where multiple clients can subscribe to a single network — called a solar garden — to split costs and avoid the hassle of personally owning housing panels.”

Big changes at KFAI. For City Pages, Jim Meyer writes: “There are only two certainties in life: death and schedule changes at KFAI. Three years ago, the eclectic community radio underdog came shockingly close to the former — and that has led to a lot of the latter. … After an overdue internal review, steered by third-year general manager Leah Honsky and program director Dale Connelly, KFAI — Twin Cities Community Radio-FM, Fresh Air Radio, 90.3, 106.7, www.kfai.org — launches a major revamp Monday, July 31, with a focus on the station’s chronic challenge: morning programming.”

Pretty sad to see the photo. The St. Cloud Times’ Jenny Berg reports: “Dan Lang has a message for the vandals that released more than 38,000 mink into the wild: You gave my animals a death sentence. … ‘There were mink dead all over the road,’ he said, describing the scene at Lang Fur Farms northwest of Eden Valley on Monday.”

In other news…

If you’re into that kind of thing: “RandBall's list: Places guys can urinate in a trough after the Target Center remodel” [Star Tribune]

Hope they’re getting overtime: “Goats at work: St. Paul's weed-eating brigade moves to another park” [Star Tribune]

A founding member of the Jayhawks: “Mary Lucia: Remembering Caleb Palmiter” [The Current]

Huh: “John Wayne Gacy killed St. Paul teen, Chicago official says” [Pioneer Press]

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Comments (7)

Gee it took three days

to come up with this bull manure:"... ‘It’s certainly reasonable to assume that any police officer would be concerned about a possible ambush under these circumstances,."

No its not, they were in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, 11 o'clock in the evening, being approached by a slender blonde woman in her pajamas. If that presents officers with reason to believe that they are being set up for an ambush then we are all in danger. Better pray you don't need to call the police for any reason, because you just might present a threat that requires them to use lethal force.

Cops

If that is a justification for shooting an unarmed person, then it's all no good. No one should ever call the cops for help.

That certainly seems to be the result to which logic leads.

(a) A police officer may shoot and kill a person if the officer subjectively perceives a risk. (b) A police officer reasonably may consider any approaching person to present a risk of ambush. (c) A police officer may shoot and kill any approaching person. QED

Minneapolis Cops

The Mpls Police have been out of control for decades.

The last police chief that tried to bring order out of the chaos was Tony Bouza ( in the 1980's).

Where can we find a Mayor with the intestinal fortitude to hire and BACK UP a real PROFESSIONAL as police chief, with a mandate to build a police force that is willing and able to "Serve and Protect" rather than "bully and shoot".

That is the outline of a really DUMB defense

To claim self defense the police officer will need to assert both that he had a fear of imminent serious physical harm or death AND that the fear was reasonable under the circumstances. Fulton is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. In 2016 there were just two reports of alleged violent crime - a sexual assault and an assault and battery. Year after year those crime stats will look similar. You've been called twice about a potential sexual assault. A petite woman in her PJ's approaches your car - i.e. if anything you might presume she was the victim of the alleged assault or the woman who submitted the 911 report. Instead, without warning - yes, this is what the lawyer's client reported to the BCA - an officer shoots a gun across his partner's lap and kills the woman. Sure, the fact there was an assassination of a cop in the Bronx a few weeks back may have created fear, but that fear given all the other circumstances in play certainly was not reasonable. If the defense can apply if the police have any reason to be afraid we might as well all avoid any contact with the police. Two other points of note. First, in 2016 police killed 13 people in Minnesota and there either were no charges filed or the police were acquitted. In all 13 instances at least one of the following facts was present. 1 - The deceased was carrying a gun and the police knew this was the case. 2 - The deceased was engaging in potentially lethal force against the police. 3 - The deceased was engaging in potentially lethal force against a third party. None of those facts are present in this case. And so the lawyer is making an epic reach to try and create a potential self defense claim. Second, it is unusual for the police union to fail to step up and provide support to an officer who kills someone in the line of duty. So far in this case there has been no such support offered by the police union.

Nice try. Lol!

First Noor got bad advice from his attorney with the refusal to talk to the BCA. Now the attorney thinks Minneapolis residents fell off a turnip truck with this ridiculous excuse. Lol!

This was a routine call from an unarmed, concerned citizen in an affluent neighborhood, who is originally from Australia. The officers seriously messed up an easy call and may as well have been the eqivalent of hapless Jerry Lundegard from the Fargo movie and Inspector Cluseau from the Pink Panther movie.

Noor made a stupid decision and shot from the passenger side endangering his partner and killing the woman. He has 3 complaints in 21 months on the force. She was very well known in her hometown of Sidney. Now the Aussie leaders are angry and want answers.

The TC region has to finally be fed up with this nonsense! Their patience has run out. Valerie Castile's warning after the Yanez acquittal was that just because you are not black, don't think it can't happen to you.

It has become prophetic with a white wonan getting gunned diwn by an officer only one month later!

Noor should just plead guilty for a minimal sentence and spare the area more turmoil and grief. Enough already! Ms. Damond's grief stricken fiance and son deserve at least that. Time for one of these reckless cops to own up and do the right thing for a change.

No disrespect to the competent and dedicated officers out there! You deserve better than embarrassments like Yanez and Noor. No way he is walking away without consequences. An innocent, unarmed woman is dead for no good reason at age 40. Inexcusable!

Plenty to fear?

I used to do police work, and I think I can advise anyone who has trouble with "fear" that they had better look at some other profession. The fact of the matter is that one needs to be able to parse probabilities to assess these situations. As others have pointed out, the circumstances - nice neighborhood, dress and comportment of Ms. Damond, lack of threatening behavior - all point to the probability that one will talking to the likely complainant to get more information, not some kind of attacker.

Frankly, the "defense" of fear cannot stand, or an officer would have an excuse to let a kid drown rather than risking drowning himself, or to leave an accident victim bleeding in the street rather than risking exposure to body fluids that might pass a disease, or to take cover while allowing a bar fight to escalate rather than risking one's own skin, and - well, you get the idea.

Yes, there is risk in every call, and in driving to and from the call for that matter. One manages risk by assigning the right level of caution and following a baseline of best practices one learns in training. If fear based on an assault that happened in another state can override the rational assessment of probabilities in the here and now, we have bad situation indeed.