Minnesota investigators are searching for a man spotted near the scene of the fatal shooting of an Australian woman by a Minneapolis police officer, hoping he may shed light on the still murky circumstances of the killing.
Just before Sydney native Justine Damond was shot through a patrol car window by an officer before midnight Saturday, officers spotted an 18-to-25-year-old white male bicycling in the area, according to investigators who interviewed one officer.
As officers provided medical assistance to Damond, shot in the abdomen, the man stopped at the scene and watched, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement late Tuesday. Officials did not respond to requests for further detail on Wednesday.
Damond’s death by a single gunshot has sparked outrage among family members and led Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to call it “shocking” and “inexplicable.”
On the night of the shooting, officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity were driving through an alley searching for a suspect after Damond called about a possible sexual assault, the bureau said.
At one point, Harrity told investigators he was startled by a loud sound near the patrol car. Immediately afterward, Damond approached the driver’s side of the squad car and Noor, who was in the passenger seat, fired his weapon through the open driver’s-side window, striking Damond, the agency said.
Agents interviewed Harrity on Tuesday but Noor has declined to be interviewed. Noor’s lawyer, Tom Plunkett, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has ruled the shooting a homicide. A spokeswoman for the office declined to say whether the office still has possession of the body or on funeral plans.
Damond’s relatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
The bureau said that body cameras were not turned on until after the shooting, which could have shed light on the incident. The squad car camera was also not turned on. They said the police would determine whether that violated any police policies.
Damond, who was also known as Justine Ruszczyk, had taken the name of her fiance, Don Damond, ahead of their wedding. They were due to be married in August, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. She owned a meditation and life-coaching company, according to her personal website.
(Reporting by Chris Kenning)
GOP will struggle to fight impeachment when the key piece of evidence is Trump’s own words: CNN commentator
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick noted a key problem Republicans will likely run into when the public impeachment hearings start this week.
"Will this hearing give Republicans, potentially, some opportunities to find cracks in the Democrats' case?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.
"If Democrats handle these hearings like they handled the last hearing with Cory Lewandowski, or if they handle it like that last hearing where Robert Mueller testified, then yes, Republicans will have opportunities, because Democrats, tactically, did not do a good job of laying out a story that was easy for the viewer at home to follow," said Swerdlick. "That being said, on the substance, I think it'll be tough for Republicans to poke holes in Democrats' case, because the central piece of evidence that Democrats will be putting forward is that partial transcript that the White House itself released of the July 25th call between President Trump and President Zelensky. And the rest of the witnesses are corroborating the basic narrative that Democrats want."
Republicans asked for a witness to undermine impeachment — but she wants to call their ‘bluff’
Since Republicans have no substantive defense of President Donald Trump’s effort to extort political investigations out of the Ukrainian government, their big hope in protecting the White House from the impeachment inquiry relies on kicking up enough dirt and throwing up red herrings to distract voters and keep Republicans united.
As part of this effort, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) proposed nine witnesses from the GOP side for the forthcoming impeachment hearings, many of whom aren’t relevant to the central questions of the inquiry.
One of those names is likely unknown the vast majority of the American public: Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa. But Politico revealed Tuesday with a new interview that Chalupa is actually willing to testify — and wants to call the Republicans’ “bluff.”
Nikki Haley’s plan to defend Trump is accidentally backfiring — and cratering her own credibility
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has launched an effort to become relevant again as she promotes her new book, and in the process, she’s dashing the hopes of those who believed she could be the reasonable Republican alternative to President Donald Trump. She’s embracing the president and casting herself as one of his brave defenders — but her effort is actually just diminishing them both.
Her big bombshell tease from the new book, “With All Due Respect,” is that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — both chosen by Trump — approached her while she was serving as ambassador to “save the country” from the president.