Justine Damond Shooting: Officer Noor’s Mental Health Records Probed

Investigators are probing the psychological and medical health records of the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Australian woman Justine Damond two months ago.

The independent body investigating Damond’s death, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), has applied in court to access the unredacted personnel files and medical records of officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity, the Star Tribune reports.

Yoga instructor and life coach Justine Damond from Sydney’s Northern Beaches was shot dead by Officer Noor behind her Minneapolis home on the night of July 15. The two officers were responding to her emergency call about a possible sexual assault in the back alley.

Her death sparked international outrage and led to the resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau.

In requesting the warrant, the BCA said the records “may assist with the investigation”.

The investigative body has requested any remaining data on the officers, including “medical files that contain pre-employment psychological exams, the unredacted personnel files, and the pre-employment background investigations,” according to the warrant.

The police command has already handed over the officers’ body camera videos, the patrol car Officer Noor reportedly fired from, the officers’ mobile phones and audio of the two ‘911’ calls made by Damond that night.

But officers Noor and Harrity did not have their body cameras switched on when Noor fired his weapon, and what happened in the moments leading up to Damond’s death remains unclear.

Officer Noor — who had been placed in an accelerated eight-month police training program before joining the force — has refused to be interviewed by investigators or to speak publicly about what happened that night.

A search warrant obtained in July claimed a woman “slapped” the back of the patrol car just before the Australian bride-to-be was shot, although it didn’t specify if the woman was Damond or whether this was the “loud sound” which reportedly startled fellow officer, Matthew Harrity.

“Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad … After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley,” the warrant stated, according to Minneapolis Public Radio (MPR).

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said last week he would decide whether to file charges against Officer Noor over the fatal shooting by the end of the year.

There is mounting pressure on investigators to charge the Minneapolis officer.

One long-time critic of Minneapolis police and president of Communities United Against Police Brutality, Michelle Gross told the Star Tribune, “They don’t seem to take nearly this long in cases in which a community member is shooting someone”.

But Freeman defended the lengthy investigation, saying four to six months was a normal timeframe for such cases.

“We have received some emails and phone calls from members of the community demanding that we charge the officer immediately and ascribing all kinds of nefarious reasons as to why we haven’t done so,” he said in a statement.

“The truth is, we are following the same procedure we have with the three previous officer-involved shootings.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au