The Minneapolis policeman who killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond has refused to be interviewed by the US Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) as it continues its investigation into the events of the night of July 15 that led to the death of the Australian woman.
“Officer Noor has declined to be interviewed by BCA agents at this time. Officer Noor’s attorney did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible,” the BCA said.
Noor was the precinct’s first Somali-American officer, and has been with the force for a little more than two years.
Under the law, the BCA cannot compel testimony.
The Bureau did, however, interview Matthew Harrity, who was driving the police car at the time of the shooting.
Harrity has only been with the force for one year.
According to the Harrity, he and Noor responded to a 911 call from a woman, now identified as Ruszczyk, about a possible assault near her residence just after 11.30pm. Harrity was driving. Noor was in the passenger seat.
The officers drove south through the alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues toward West 51st Street in search of a suspect. All squad lights were off.
As they reached the destination, Harrity says he was startled by a loud sound. Immediately afterward Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side window of the car. Harrity says that Noor discharged his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window.
He says, both he and Noor immediately left the car and provided medical attention to the woman until medical personnel arrived. Ruszczyk was pronounced dead at the scene. She died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Harrity also told investigators that the officers saw an 18-25 year old white male who was bicycling eastbound on the same street immediately before the shooting. This individual stopped at the scene and watched as the officers provided medical assistance to Ruszczyk. BCA agents want to speak with this person, and anyone else who may have witnessed the incident.
Ruszczyk was unarmed, although a mobile phone was recovered from the crime scene.
The officer’s body cameras were off until after the shooting incident and the police car camera was also off.
Investigators are not aware of any recordings of the shooting, creating doubt as to whether an audio recording published on Minneapolis police clips is real.
The BCA says its investigation is ongoing, with forensic testing being completed and all evidence being examined.