Minnesota prosecutors to consider charges in case of Australian woman killed by police officer

Prosecutors are now deciding whether to pursue charges against a Minneapolis police officer who shot an Australian woman to death in July, officials said Tuesday.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said his office had received the results of the investigation into Justine Damond's July 15 death and "several senior prosecutors will now carefully review the case file to determine what, if any, charges might be brought."

Two weeks ago, Freeman said he expected to make a decision about the case by the end of the year, FOX9 reported.

Freeman said his office was using the same protocol it followed for the last three officer-involved shootings, upon a completed investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Officer Mohamed Noor fatally shot Damond, a 40-year-old life coach who was engaged to be married, after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Noor's partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was startled by a loud noise right before Damond approached the driver's side window of their police SUV.

Harrity, who was driving, said Noor then fired his weapon from the passenger seat, hitting Damond.


During a meeting with Minneapolis residents Sunday, Freeman said the shooting of Damond "didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened," the Star Tribune reported.

Freeman also told residents at the meeting his job was to determine whether Noor did something criminal, and whether there was enough admissible evidence to support a charge.

Noor was put on an accelerated police cadet program that required only seven months of training, a nontraditional route that aims to help those who have a college degree enter law enforcement. Some believe that program could leave officers ill prepared to handle real-world police scenarios.

In another high-profile police shooting, Freeman decided no charges would be filed against two officers involved in the November 2015 death of Jamar Clark — a decision that led to several protests in Minneapolis.

In that case, Freeman broke precedent with the standard practice of having a grand jury decide whether officers would be charged in police shootings and made the decision himself. Freeman said he would follow that same practice in the Damond case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.