Australian woman killed in Minneapolis police shooting, and her family demands answers

Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a statement the next day saying officers responded to a 911 call concerning a potential assault. (July 17, 2017)

The family of an Australian woman who was shot and killed by police in Minneapolis said Monday that they’re trying to understand why it happened.

In a statement released by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the family of the woman — who Minneapolis authorities haven’t identified yet — said this is a difficult time.

The Star Tribune identified the woman as Justine Damond, 40, from Sydney.

Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a statement Sunday saying two Minneapolis officers responded to a 911 call concerning a potential assault late Saturday. Exact details weren’t released but officials said an officer at some point fired a gun, killing the woman.


Officials said the officers’ body cameras weren’t turned on and that a squad car camera didn’t capture the shooting.

It’s not clear why the officers’ body cameras weren’t turned on. The department’s policy allows for a range of situations in which officers are supposed to do so, including “any contact involving criminal activity” and before use of force. If a body camera isn’t turned on before use of force, it’s supposed to be turned on as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Some 50 friends and neighbors gathered in a semicircle Sunday afternoon near where Damond died, with many more looking on from the sidewalk and street. Chalk hearts were drawn on the driveway pad.

Damond had relocated to Minneapolis. Her website advertised services including personal health and life coaching, as well as workshops for businesses.

Zach Damond, 22, said she was engaged to marry his father Don Damond in August, although she had already taken his name.

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Damond told the Star Tribune. “I demand answers.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges visited the scene, in a part of the city she once represented on the City Council. She said was “heartsick” and “deeply disturbed” by the shooting.

“There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to,” she said in a statement Sunday.


7:23 a.m.: Updated with the victim’s identification and additional background

This story was originally posted at 5:15 a.m.