One year later, they gather to remember Justine Damond

Australian woman was shot and killed by MPD officer

Susie Jones
July 16, 2018 - 5:21 am
One year later, neighbors remember Justine Damond



On a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon, dozens gathered in the alley behind the home of Justine Damond, near where she was shot and killed by a Minneapolis Police officer.  

She had called police to report a possible assault and when she approached the squad car, prosecutors say officer Mohamed Noor fired from the passenger side through the driver's side window, hitting and killing Damond.  

"Her death was devastating for our community. Justine through her spiritual teachings made a lasting impression on everyone she met," said Sarah Kuhnen, with the group "Justice for Justine."

There were other community groups there as well.

"I think that Justine's death, along with so many others at the hands of police, symbolizes that we have a systemic problem and we need all hands on deck," said activist Nekima Levy-Pounds

Emotions were high at times.

"I didn't come to separate us," said  John Thompson, whose cousin Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in July of 2016. "You all need to get mad," he shouted.

On Saturday, nearly 100 people gathered near Minnehaha Creek in south Minneapolis in memory of Damond, while at the same time her relatives held a sunrise gathering at a beach in her native Australia.

"On the way to the beach this morning, the kookaburras were laughing, we experienced this beautiful sunrise," said Justine;s father, John Ruszczyk, on Saturday. "Justine, because of her senseless killing, will never see that sunrise or hear the kookaburras again."

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 15, 2017, shooting.

Prosecutors say Noor was in a squad car's passenger seat when he shot Damond through the driver's side window after she approached the vehicle.