Police officers have an extremely difficult job. Each day, they put their lives on the line to uphold the law and protect the public. Whether it is drug crimes, gun crimes or violent crimes, they are often subjected to untold amounts of stressful situations which require sharp judgment skills. But in the past year, the nation’s law enforcement community has come under fire for questionable behavior. Several incidents of police brutality, racism and shootings of unarmed suspects has led to greater scrutiny those who are sworn to serve and protect. The latest high-profile incident involves the shooting death Australian woman Justine Damond by a Minneapolis police officer that has sparked a firestorm throughout the country. The aftermath has resulted in the firing of city’s police chief and many calling for the mayor to do the same.
Not Just Another Sex Crime
On the night of July 15, Damond contacted police to report what she thought was a sexual assault in an alley behind her home. Two Minneapolis police officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor eventually arrived at the scene. Because the case is still under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and there is no video of the shooting, few details have been released about the case. What we do know is Damond approached the police car dressed in her pajamas. Officers reportedly heard a slap on the side of the car. Startled by the sound, Officer Noor fired his gun from the passenger seat through the driver-side window. The bullet struck Damond in the abdomen. After collapsing to the ground, both officers administered CPR. Just twenty minutes after her 911 call, Justine Damond was dead.
Changes in Procedure
Because the shooting took place at night, the officers had poor visibility of Damond. Since the shooting mass rallies and protests have been organized throughout the city and around the country. Protests have even gone beyond our borders and into Damond’s native of country of Australia. Due to the controversy, Minneapolis police have announced all officers will be required to activate body cameras while on duty. The police also announced department would implement equipment inside squad cars that would automatically activate the body cameras.
Protecting the Rights of Unarmed Suspects
Although Damond was not a suspect in any crime, the rash of police shootings of suspects raises questions about improper training methods for law enforcement officers. Police are trained to shoot if a suspect is placing the officer’s life in danger. Clearly, it did not occur in this case.
Have You Been Falsely Arrested or Harmed by the Police? A Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Unfortunately, the Damond shooting is not unique to Minneapolis. Innocent people become the victims of police violence. Many are either falsely arrested or have experienced some form of police brutality. The Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at White & Mattern, PLLC bring an extensive track record of protecting the rights of each client and looking after their best interests. If you or someone you know has been the victim of police brutality, contact their Salt Lake City law office today and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.