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July 17, 2017

Late Saturday night, two police officers in Minneapolis responded "to a 911 call of a possible assault" in the upscale Fulton neighborhood, and "at one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman," Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said in a statement on Sunday. That woman has been identified as Justine Damond, a 40-year-old Australian woman engaged to be married to an American, Don Damond, in August, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. "The officers' body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident," BCA said in the statement.

On Sunday evening, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said the body cameras being turned off, in apparent violation of recently enacted regulations, is one of the questions she has about the "tragic" shooting. "I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by the fatal officer-involved shooting that happened last night," she added.

Don Damond's 22-year-old son, Zach Damond, showed up at the scene of the shooting at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, before heading to the airport to pick up his father, 50, arriving from a business trip. "Basically, my mom's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know," he said. "I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I'm so done with all this violence." He said Justine, whose maiden name is Ruszczyk, called 911 because she "heard a sound in the alley."

When the two officers arrived in the alley in one squad car, "Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver's side door and was talking to the driver," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, citing "three sources with knowledge of the incident." "The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver's side door, sources said. No weapon was found at the scene." The two officers are on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Peter Weber

June 25, 2017
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A black St. Louis, Missouri, police officer was shot by a colleague while off duty this week, an encounter in which the injured officer's lawyer says race was a factor. "In the police report you have so far, there is no description of a threat [the shooter] received," said attorney Rufus J. Tate Jr. in a local news interview. "So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared."

The off-duty officer was at home when he heard commotion outside and took his police-issued firearm to investigate. When two cops pursuing a suspect saw him, they "ordered him to the ground." He complied, and was recognized by his coworkers, who told him "to stand up and walk toward them."

At that moment, a fourth officer arrived. "[F]earing for his safety and apparently not recognizing the off-duty officer," the police report says, he immediately shot the off-duty cop in the arm.

All officers involved have been placed on administrative leave while the departmental investigation proceeds. The officer who was shot was released from the hospital after treatment. Bonnie Kristian

May 3, 2017
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As expected, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it will not bring civil rights charges against two white police officers who shot and killed a black man selling CDs outside of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store last summer.

"After an exhaustive, almost year-long investigation, all of the prosecutors and agents involved in this case have come to the conclusion that insufficient evidence exists to charge either officer with a federal crime in connection with this incident," Baton Rouge Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said during a news conference. Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed July 5 following a scuffle with officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, who were put on paid administrative leave after the incident. The officers had been looking for a suspect who matched Sterling's description, police said, and after they tackled Sterling, he allegedly reached for a gun before officers opened fire. The incident was caught on video, and many who have seen the footage say it did not show Sterling reaching for a weapon. After the shooting, protesters marched for several days, with 150 arrested.

Several people with knowledge of the investigation told media outlets on Tuesday that the Justice Department had decided against filing civil rights charges. Federal prosecutors needed to prove officers "willfully" violated Sterling's civil rights, and the family was walked through how difficult this would have been, NBC News reports. "He's no longer here, but his voice still will be heard through us," Sterling's aunt, Sandra, said. "So stay behind us. Because we love Alton and we don't want this to end. Remember his name." Now, Louisiana is investigating the shooting for possible state criminal violations. Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2017

The Texas police officer who shot and killed a black teenager on Saturday night as he drove away from a party has been fired, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber announced Tuesday.

Without elaborating, Haber also said that the officer, Roy Oliver, who joined the department in 2011, violated several departmental policies during the incident. Jordan Edwards, 15, was shot in the head and later died at a hospital after Oliver fired multiple rounds from a rifle into the vehicle he was riding in. Edwards, two of his brothers, and friends had been at a party in the Dallas suburb when police arrived due to noise complaints. The police originally said the officers were inside when they heard gunshots outside, and that caused people to flee the scene. The car Edwards was in was backing up toward officers in an "aggressive manner," police claimed, and Oliver was giving verbal commands to stop, but when the car kept going, he opened fire.

On Monday, Haber said this was an inaccurate description of events, and after viewing dash-cam footage, it was apparent the car was driving away when Oliver opened fire. "I made a mistake and I apologized for it," Haber said Tuesday. Edwards' family said in a statement they are glad Oliver was fired and thanked Haber for his "commendable strides toward justice," but said there "remains a long road ahead." Catherine Garcia

October 22, 2016
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The two Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers responsible for the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark followed proper procedure and will not face disciplinary action, the Minneapolis police department chief said Friday.

An internal investigation ruled the officers were in the right when they used deadly force against the 24-year-old black man this past November. "We're disappointed, of course," said the Clark family attorney, Albert Goins. "But we're somewhat flabbergasted by that because I know the standard is fairly low to have…an officer incur discipline."

The circumstances of Clark's death were much debated and the subject of Black Lives Matter protests last fall. The officers were attempting to arrest Clark for interfering with paramedics' treatment of a woman, at which point one of the cops says Clark tried to take and use his gun, provoking the officers' escalation as a means of self defense. Bonnie Kristian

October 19, 2016
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A New York Police Department officer fatally shot a mentally ill Bronx woman, Deborah Danner, in her apartment Tuesday after she allegedly charged at him with a baseball bat. She was 66 years old.

Cops were called to the apartment after Danner's neighbors heard her screaming, which they attribute to her failure to take her medication. On arrival, they found her nude, visibly troubled, and holding a pair of scissors. Officers convinced Danner, who was African-American, to drop the scissors, which they say she threatened to use as a weapon; she then reportedly picked up the bat. NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry says Danner charged him, and he fired twice. The elderly woman was struck in the torso and rushed to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries.

NYPD Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen says investigation of the incident will examine why Barry did not use the Taser he was carrying instead of immediately opting for lethal force. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a promise of thorough scrutiny of the case late Tuesday, saying, "We're determined to get to the bottom of what happened and won't rest until we do."

Black Lives Matter protesters intend to demonstrate in Danner's neighborhood this week. "When you hear about these situations, it begs the question: How much training do these police officers have with dealing with those who are mentally ill?" said Hawk Newsome, a Black Lives Matter representative. Per data from The Washington Post, about 1 in 4 of those fatally shot by police are "mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis." Bonnie Kristian

October 1, 2016
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Dashcam footage released by police in Sacramento, California, shows two officers attempting to run over a mentally ill homeless man before fatally shooting him. The encounter with law enforcement that left Joseph Mann dead happened July 11, and the police video was first reported by local news outlets this Thursday.

In a captioned version of the video with enhanced audio published by The Sacramento Bee Friday, one of the two involved officers, Randy Lozoya and John Tennis, can be heard saying, "f--k this guy" as they approach the scene in their cruiser. The driving officer then says, "I'm going to hit him," and the other cop replies, "Okay. Go for it. Go for it." The car swerves at Mann, who was African-American, and misses. Moments later, Mann was fatally shot 14 times. He was discovered to be armed with only a 4-inch knife.

Both officers are now on "modified duty," and Mann's family is suing the city in civil court. A Sacramento Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, said use of police cars as a lethal weapon is part of officers' training. Bonnie Kristian

October 1, 2016
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After four nights of protest in El Cajon, California, a suburb of San Diego, over Tuesday's fatal police shooting of Ugandan-born Alfred Olango, authorities released two sources of footage of Olango's death on Friday. The graphic video is available for viewing here.

Neither clip was recorded by official police cameras and much of the footage is silent. One video was obtained from a surveillance camera at a nearby taco restaurant, and the other is cell phone footage filmed by a bystander from a nearly identical angle. The grainy clips make it difficult to decipher Olango's behavior before he was killed, though it is clear the police officer responsible — who was summoned to the scene by Olango's sister out of concern for her brother's frame of mind — fired the fatal shots within 40 seconds of encountering the unarmed, mentally unstable man.

The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave and no charges have been filed to date. Bonnie Kristian

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