US cops shoot Aus­tralian woman dead

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

AUS­TRALIA: The shoot­ing of an Aus­tralian woman by US po­lice has raised se­ri­ous con­cerns af­ter it was re­vealed the of­fi­cers didn’t have their body cam­eras turned on.

Jus­tine Da­mond, be­lieved to be aged in her 40s, was killed in Min­neapo­lis about 11.30pm lo­cal time on Satur­day af­ter two of­fi­cers re­sponded to a re­port of a pos­si­ble as­sault.

Da­mond, orig­i­nally from Syd­ney and also known as Jus­tine Ruszczyk, was a trained vet­eri­nar­ian who worked as a spir­i­tual healer and med­i­ta­tion teacher.

Her step­son Zach Da­mond, 22, said she called po­lice af­ter hear­ing a noise near their house in the sub­urb of Ful­ton.

‘‘My mum was shot for rea­sons I don’t know,’’ Da­mond said in a video posted on Face­book.

‘‘I de­mand an­swers ... I’m so done with all this vi­o­lence.

‘‘I just know she heard a sound in the al­ley so then she called the po­lice and the cops showed up.

‘‘She was a very pas­sion­ate woman, she prob­a­bly thought some­thing bad was hap­pen­ing and then next thing I know they take my best friend’s life.’’

Da­mond ran her med­i­ta­tion work­shops at the Lake Har­riet Spir­i­tual Com­mu­nity, which paid trib­ute in a Face­book post.

‘‘We are so sad to re­port the tragic shoot­ing of Jus­tine Da­mond,’’ the com­mu­nity’s post said. ’’Jus­tine was one of the most lov­ing peo­ple you would ever meet. We can’t even imag­ine LHSC without her.’’

Da­mond, whose part­ner is Don Da­mond, 50, is be­lieved to have been liv­ing in the US for at least the past three years.

Min­neapo­lis mayor Betsy Hodges wants to know why the of­fi­cers’ body cam­eras were off.

‘‘I am heart­sick and deeply dis­turbed by what hap­pened,’’ she posted on Face­book.

‘‘I have been work­ing on be­half of all of you all night and all day and I will con­tinue to do so.

‘‘I share your ques­tions and con­cerns and con­tinue to seek an­swers.’’

The Min­nesota Bureau of Crim­i­nal Ap­pre­hen­sion said two Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cers re­sponded to a 911 call of a pos­si­ble as­sault just north of the 5100 block of Wash­burn Av­enue South.

‘‘At one point an of­fi­cer fired their weapon, fa­tally strik­ing a woman,’’ it said in a state­ment.

‘‘The of­fi­cers’ body cam­eras were not turned on at the time and the squad cam­era did not cap­ture the in­ci­dent.

‘‘In­ves­ti­ga­tors are at­tempt­ing to de­ter­mine whether any video of the in­ci­dent ex­ists.’’

Da­mond’s per­sonal web­site says she trained as a vet­eri­nar­ian and prac­tised yoga and med­i­ta­tion for 17 years.

The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade says it’s pro­vid­ing con­sular sup­port to the fam­ily of an Aus­tralian woman killed in the US. - AAP

Jus­tine Da­mond

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