NATION Killer cop ‘ fast tracked’
THE cop who shot dead Aussie life coach Justine Damond was fast- tracked into the force under a controversial scheme to meet a shortage of police in Minneapolis.
Mohamed Noor, who mistakenly killed Ms Damond on July 15 after she called 911 to help a woman she believed was being attacked behind her home, studied for just eight months before he started field training.
While other police study a two- year degree in criminal justice before commencing field training, Mr Noor, 31, was placed in an accelerated program because he already had a business degree.
Mr Noor’s killing of Ms Damond, 40, from Manly, has cast an international spotlight on the Midwest city, which has been rocked by three controversial cop killings in less than two years.
Police chief Janee Harteau was ousted last week after the city “lost faith” in her leadership, and authorities have been dogged by questions about the qualifications and preparedness of Mr Noor, an officer for two years, and Officer Matthew Harrity, 26, who was driving their squad car and had been in the force for just a year.
Critics claim the cadet training program from which Mr Noor graduated doesn’t offer broad enough experience, with one saying its “all tactics and no strategy”.
Criminologist James Densley said it was “rigorous, no doubt, but it is also an immersive paramilitary experience, taught by practitioners without advanced degrees, and I suspect it leaves students with a limited view of the profession”.
Former chief Harteau was forced to defend Mr Noor’s training, telling a press conference last week “we have a very robust field training officer program which, I’ve been told by the training officers, he did well”.
“There was no indication there would be any issues,” she said the day before her resignation.
Minneapolis Police defended the program. “The MPD Cadet Program started back in 1989 and has helped the MPD hire a number of highly qualified and decorated officers, including many of our current Chiefs, Inspectors, and Commanders,” the department said.
Mr Noor has refused to explain his actions to the investigating Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but Officer Harrity told investigators his partner fired his service revolver from the passenger seat through the driver side door. He described a loud sound, like a banging on a car.
Ms Damond’s family said through their lawyer they don’t want Mr Noor, who is on administrative leave pending the investigation, to ever work as a police officer again.
“It’s quite clearly an improper use of deadly force on someone who it is impossible for me to conceive of as a threat to anyone,” said Bob Bennett, who also represents the family of cop victim Philando Castile.