Minneapolis neighborhood reeling, calls for police reform after cop kills Australian woman

On the surface, life seems to have returned to normal in the upper middle class neighborhood of Fulton following last Saturday’s fatal shooting of an Australian woman by a Minneapolis police officer.

Young mothers pushing strollers and elderly couples with their dogs walk the tree-lined sidewalks, while children race down the streets on bikes. The only signs of disturbance are the few remaining news vans parked in front of the alley where 40-year-old Justine Damond was shot and the makeshift chalk and flower memorials set-up by friends and family.

Despite the air of normality in one of the city’s safest neighborhoods, Minneapolis residents say they are still coming to grips with the killing that has grabbed the attention of the world and rocked their sense of safety and trust.

“A lot of people are saying their sense of security has been undermined,” Cherie Merritt, who lives a few blocks from where the shooting occurred, told Fox News. “I’m just shocked and saddened by this.”

Damond, a spiritual healer and life coach who was due to be married in August, called 911 twice on Saturday night to report an alleged sexual assault in the alley behind her home. When Minneapolis police officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity arrived on scene, they heard a loud bang before Damond approached the driver’s side of the police car.

Noor, who sitting in the passenger seat, fired his gun and hit Damond in the abdomen. In a statement, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Damond’s death a homicide and said she died Saturday at 11:51 p.m. in the alleyway.

The killing of Damond has once again dredged up resentment toward a police department that has been embroiled in controversy in recent years over the actions of its officers.

Last year, 32-year-old Philando Castile was killed by an officer during a traffic stop in a nearby suburb after he told the officer he was armed. The officer was acquitted in June of manslaughter and other charges.

In November 2015, a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Jamar Clark during a struggle in which the officer said Clark grabbed his partner's weapon.

“People in this neighborhood never had a reason to fear the police,” one Fulton resident, who asked not to be identified by name, told Fox News. “But when you have this many shootings, this close together, you have to wonder what it is in the water.”

Residents of Minneapolis say that the killing of Damond only adds to the need for police reform in the city and for transparency into investigations of police-related shootings.

There has been very little new information regarding the shooting as Noor has refused to speak with investigators and neither of the officers had their body cameras turned on until the after the shooting. It is unclear whether any information has been obtained by the squad car’s dashboard camera.

"It's frustrating to have some of the picture but not all of it," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said during a press conference. "We cannot compel Officer Noor to make a statement. I wish we could. I wish that he would make a statement."

Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department is reviewing its policy on body cameras and was doing so before Damond's death. Arradondo added the department is just eight months into a department-wide rollout, and the review includes focusing on how often officers activate them. He said the department wants to increase that frequency.

The city also said it planned to release a transcript of Damond's 911 call after it is shared with family members. Officials had initially declined to make it public.

Both Noor and Harrity are on paid administrative leave. Harrity has been with the Minneapolis police department for one year, and Noor has been with the department for nearly two.

Records from Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct Review show Noor has had three complaints against him. Two are pending, and the third was dismissed without discipline. Noor was also sued earlier this year after a May 25 incident in which he and other officers took a woman to the hospital for an apparent mental health crisis.

“The police department really needs to address these problems,” Laurie Riepe, a Fulton resident for the last four years, told Fox News. “Between this shooting and what has happened over the last few years something really needs to be done.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.