MPD Looks to Set the Record Straight in Damond Case

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Justine Damond, Minneapolis Police
Image Credit: City of Minneapolis/Facebook

EDINA, Minn. — The investigation into the fatal shooting that left a bride-to-be dead in the alley behind her home continues to evolve. Over one week ago, Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer. As the information slowly trickles in, here are the latest developments:

Calls For Resignation

On Friday, Alpha News reported on the sudden resignation of former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges held a press conference at city hall Friday evening to discuss her decision to ask for Harteau’s resignation and her choice to appoint Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo as the new Chief of Police.

Less than five minutes into her press conference, Hodges was interrupted by members of Black Lives Matter and others who support the Justice for Justine campaign. The group shut down Hodges’ presser temporarily, loudly calling for the resignation of the mayor and her entire city council.

Hodges was able to get control of the room before announcing that she would not be stepping down.

A Witness Steps Forward

The BCA also announced on Friday that the witness identified by Officer Mohamed Noor’s partner, Officer Matthew Harrity has stepped forward and is cooperating with authorities.

“This individual was seen bicycling eastbound on West 51st Street immediately before the shooting and stopped at the scene and watched as the officers provided medical assistance to Justine Ruszczyk,” the BCA states in a press release.

According to WCCO, the bicyclist stopped and took video of the two officers trying to resuscitate Damond.

MPR reports that a warrant filed with the court claims a woman smacked the back of the squad car.

Officer Noor has yet to give a statement to BCA investigators. According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, they cannot force a police officer to cooperate.

Minneapolis Police Set the Record Straight

The Star Tribune published an article over the weekend, reporting that Noor became an officer through a fast-track cadet training program that lasts approximately seven months.

“The seven-month training is a quicker, nontraditional route to policing aimed at helping those who already have a college degree enter law enforcement,” Jennifer Bjorhus writes for the Star Tribune.

However, the Minneapolis Police Department is looking to squash the misinformation, denying any fast-track training for Noor.

“There is some incorrect information being circulated about MPD’s officer training programs, including that there is a ‘Fast-Track’ option. That is simply not true,” Minneapolis PD wrote in a press release.

“To set the record straight about the training and qualifications of MPD Officers:

“New officers, with no previous law enforcement experience, can join the Minneapolis Police Department as either a Recruit Police Officer or Police Cadet. Which path they follow depends on their past education and certifications. Minnesota is one of only two states in the nation to require a two-year degree to become a licensed police officer.”

MPD has two methods of hiring police officers. Officers are required to have a post-secondary degree. A police cadet, as Noor is described by the Star Tribune, did not pass the POST Licensing Exam and then completes an academic training that lasts eight months. After completing skills and academic requirements, they are placed along with recruit officers in the Field Training Program, which is another five-and-a-half months. Noor would have completed more than 13 months in training – compared to the seven months described by the Star Tribune.

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