World News

Justine Damond shooting: grand jury reportedly convened

Justine Damond shooting: grand jury reportedly convened

A decision on whether to charge the officer, Mohamed Noor, over Damond's death has been beset by delays, which the Hennepin county attorney, Mike Freeman, has previously blamed on the lack of evidence gathered by investigators.

"For me, grand juries should no longer be used in police shooting cases in Hennepin County", Freeman said in a March 2016 statement.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to confirm the grand jury, citing the secrecy of any such proceeding, but said he still intends to make his own decision on whether to charge the officer.

Officer Harrity was served a subpoena on Wednesday to testify before the grand jury.

'Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we can not comment on grand jury subpoenas or any testimony that occurs before a grand jury'.

Ruszczyk, known professionally as Justine Damond, had called police to report that she thought she'd heard a woman yell for help outside her home in Minneapolis' Fulton neighborhood, telling the 911 operator she was anxious someone was being attacked. "And let me just say, it's not my fault", he said.

"Unfortunately, the Federation cannot answer the obvious question the media is asking: How can County Attorney Freeman retain charging authority while simultaneously submitting the case to a grand jury?

No institution - including the City of Minneapolis - should stand in the way of uncovering that truth", said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in a statement Wednesday afternoon. He said they would cooperate.

Toward the end of December Freeman announced that he would not make a charging decision in the case until 2018, but has since remained silent on the case.

It's not clear what Freeman's office is asking of the grand jury.

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"This is a very unique procedure to have to use, but we applaud it", Bennett said.

The attorney representing Damond's family, Bob Bennett, was out of the office Wednesday and could not immediately be reached for comment. He added that "it would be unethical and potentially unlawful to comment publicly on this development".

Officer Noor has refused to speak to investigators.

Noor shot Damond in Minneapolis in July 2017 after she called police to report a woman screaming outsider her house. Noor was in the passenger seat and is believed to have shot across the driver, striking Damond in the abdomen.

Ms Damond, 40, was shot dead while she was unarmed and wearing her pyjamas outside her home in Minneapolis.

The Damond shooting sparked demonstrations in Minnesota and gained global attention.

The grand jury process has been criticized for its secrecy and because it rarely results in charges against officers.

Still, Halberg said it's unclear whether a grand jury can be used strictly for investigative purposes on the state level, and it's not something he has seen in his 40-year career.

Freeman was the first to break precedent with the standard practice of having a grand jury decide charges in police shootings after the November 2015 death of Jamar Clark.


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