Many questions, few answers after police kill woman in south Minneapolis

Says Pat Pfeifer of the Strib, “A 40-year-old woman who family members said called 911 to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home Saturday night was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer.  … The woman, Justine Damond, from Sydney, Australia, and her fiancé lived in the 5000 block of Washburn. 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.”

For MPR, Bob Collins says, “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.” 

Plaque push-back: As Brian Bakst writes for MPR, “New biographical plaques went up this month next to portraits of all 38 past governors, paintings that had been removed during the Capitol’s recently completed $310 million restoration. None of the living former governors say they or close associates were consulted about what would be written, nor were they given an advance look at the finished product. This is the first time every portrait will include a biographical note. Previously, only deceased governors got write-ups. Now, two of those living governors are pushing back — and the Minnesota Historical Society says it’s listening to their calls for change.” 

SwapDan Kraker at MPR writes, “Calling it a ‘very good land exchange… for the taxpayers and the citizens of our nation,’ U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands Friday in favor of a bill the 8th District DFLer authored. The legislation would authorize a federal land exchange the contentious PolyMet copper-nickel mine proposal needs in order to advance. Last January the U.S. Forest Service approved the swap which would trade 6,650 acres of federal land to PolyMet near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, Minn., for a similar amount of private land in northeast Minnesota.” Wait for Ted Cruz to offer an amendment to clear cut the new acreage.

The cash is beginning to move. Says David Montgomery in the PiPress, “The battle for control of Congress may run through Minnesota next year — but so far, it’s only arrived in the west metro. More than a dozen candidates for Minnesota’s eight U.S. House seats raised more than $2.5 million for their 2018 campaigns in the past three months, according to reports filed this weekend with the Federal Election Commission. But the only big-dollar race so far is the west metro’s 3rd District, where incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen and DFL challenger Dean Phillips have combined to take in more than $1 million in the last quarter.

Face off over the Red River. The AP says, “A legal battle by North Dakota and Minnesota residents opposed to a Red River diversion project in the Fargo area has lasted nearly four years and resulted in nearly 500 court documents, with no end in sight. Both sides are expecting some clarity in the next week. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim of Minnesota will hear arguments Tuesday on whether construction of the project should be halted until the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers receive the necessary permits from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.”

Another thing ‘Murica isn’t too good at: following directions. Tim Harlow of the Strib reports on the attrition rate of light fixtures in the Lowry tunnel. “It’s getting darker inside the Lowry Hill Tunnel, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is scrambling to find a solution. The problem is that semi-trailer trucks and other oversized vehicles have hit eight of the overhead high-pressure sodium lights used to illuminate the tunnel and damaged the fixtures that hold them in place.” 

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Garth Taylor on 07/17/2017 - 07:29 am.

    Immediate action required

    It’s sad to see Minneapolis go the way of unregulated, unaccountable police behavior. Police violence requires immediate investigation and fact-sharing, regardless of where the trail leads. Why did the passenger-side officer feel his/her life was threatened? (The obvious defense). Did an Aussie accent make the bathrobe-clad “assailant” seem like an immigrant, and therefore a prima facie suspect? Did the darkness of the alley make the officer think the “assailant” might be black, and therefore … you know … Was it “teach-them-a-lesson” night in the precinct? What’s the reason? What’s the punishment?

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/17/2017 - 09:53 am.

      Let’s give it time.

      I agree that, on the basis of available information, this death is stupefying. It may just as much so after the facts are in, but we need to wait for that.

      The MPD, the City of Minneapolis, and the state crime bureau, however, need to be far more forthcoming and far more quickly than they have in the past. The officers involved should not receive any special treatment, as has happened in the past. E.g., being given time to recover from the shock of the event, as was done for Officer Yanez. The officers must be accorded the same rights as any shooting suspect, no more and no less.

      • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 07/17/2017 - 12:48 pm.

        Enought Time Has Passed

        One of my neighbors (I live just a couple blocks away) was murdered by a Minneapolis Police Officer on Saturday night. If there was any reason at all for murdering her, it should have been released on Sunday – the police officers who participated in the killing should have given their statements within a few hours of the killing and that should have been made available. If there is a compelling reason for not explaining what happened, then the police and/or Mayor Hodges need to be forthcoming.

        The Minneapolis Police Department and Mayor Hodges have about another 24 hours to retain a shred of credibility in this incident. Mayor Hodges could demand that the Police Department release an accounting of what happened – now.

  2. Submitted by Arthur Swenson on 07/17/2017 - 11:32 am.

    Mpls Police

    Maybe now that the police dept has unleashed its brand of “shoot first, ask questions later” unlawful enforcement on the citizens if Southwest Minneapolis, people will begin to understand that WE ARE ALL AT RISK OF BEING KILLED BY THE OUTLAWS WHO POLICE US.

  3. Submitted by Pat Terry on 07/17/2017 - 12:11 pm.


    Is the lesson here that you should never call the police? That whatever danger you or someone else may be in, it does not outweigh the risk of having the cops kill you?

    If a cop pulls you over, do you stop? Is it safer to flee?

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