Justine Damond family lawsuit seeking at least $50M in damages

Damond Family Attorney: "If you get spooked...you’re in the wrong job.”

Edgar Linares
July 23, 2018 - 5:42 pm

By Edgar Linares

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The lawsuit filed by the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond is against the officers involved and the City of Minneapolis to find out exactly what happened the night of July 15, 2017.

John Ruszczyk, Damond’s father, who lives in Australia, hired attorney Robert Bennett. Bennett read a statement from Ruszczyk during Monday’s news conference.

“I have instructed my Attorneys to a file a Complaint against Officers Noor, Harrity, and the City of Minneapolis for the violent, unnecessary, and unconstitutional death of my daughter, Justine Maia Ruszczyk,” said the beginning of the statement.

On July 15, 2017, Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault happening in the back alley of her South Minneapolis. Minneapolis Police Officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity responded to the home near 50th and Washburn Avenue South.

According to Officer Harrity, who gave a statement the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shortly after the shooting, Noor was startled by a loud sound near the squad car. When Damond appeared in the driver-side window Noor reached across Harrity’s body with his gun and then fired through the open window striking Damond in the abdomen. Before she died, Damond told officers “I’m dying” according to investigators. Officer Noor has declined to give an interview since the shooting.

“If you get spooked like Harrity says, without being able to articulate any reason for that you’re in the wrong job,” said Attorney Bennett.

The family is seeking at least $50 million dollars in damages.

The defendants in the lawsuit include Noor, Harrity and former Police Chief Janee’ Harteau and current Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

By Edgar Linares

The lawsuit claims the following:

Count 1, Fourth Amendment Violation.

This lawsuit is against Officer Noor alleging he took away Damond’s civil rights by using deadly force. They’re seeking $50 million in damages.

Count 2, 1983 Conspiracy Pre and Post Shooting.

This lawsuit alleges Offices Noor and Harrity consciously decided to not properly record the incident using their body-worn cameras and concealed the truth behind Damond’s death. They’re seeking $50 million in damages.

Count 3, Civil Rights Violation – Failure to Train.

This lawsuit is against the City of Minneapolis alleging the city failed to properly train hundreds of officers, including Noor and Harrity, when it comes to body-worn cameras and alleges lack of discipline for not doing so. They’re seeking $50 million in damages.

Count 4, Monell vs. Department of Social Services.

This lawsuit is against former Minneapolis Police Chief Janee’ Harteau and current Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, alleging a “blue wall of silence” exists among the police department as a result of inconsistent discipline. They say lack of discipline gives officers approval to violate policy, practice improper use of force and not tell the truth. The lawsuit alleges MPD improperly screens police candidates, putting dangerous and unqualified officers on the streets. They’re seeking $50 million in damages.

Last March, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged Officer Noor with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Freeman said Noor “recklessly and intentionally” fired his gun.

A call has been placed to Minneapolis Attorney Susan Segal about the lawsuit, we’re waiting to hear back.