I’m only upset because I didn’t think of it. Several of these signs were posted, professionally, around the Twin Cities. I suspect they’ve been taken down already by embarrassed authorities, and will almost certainly be, ever after, valuable collector’s items. They’re clever, hilarious, and tragic, not only for the citizens of Minneapolis, but for all police officers everywhere. It remains to be seen whether Mohamed Noor will be charged with any crime in the shooting of Justine Damond. Contemporary events, and the nature of Minneapolis government would seem to make criminal charges, perhaps even internal MPD discipline, unlikely, but more on that shortly. It also remains to be seen whether Noor, if charged, will raise the “I was startled, so I shot the first person I saw” defense, but that too seems likely for the moment.
We are now at the stage in this investigation where, absent leaks, there will probably be little new information until the BCA releases the findings of its investigation. In looking for additional information, I’m seeing all manner of speculation, much of it clumsy rehashes of what I’ve already posted here at SMM. Among those assertions is the “slapped the police car,” and Damond got dead narrative. Minnesota Public Radio reports:
A search warrant was filed by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators to look at the area where the shooting happened and gather evidence as part of the investigation.
‘Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad,’ according to the search warrant. “After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.”
But the document doesn’t explicitly say it was Ruszczyk who slapped the back of the police cruiser. It also doesn’t say whether that was the loud noise that Noor’s partner, Matthew Harrity, said he heard and was startled by before the shooting.
A BCA spokesperson declined to provide additional details, citing the ongoing investigation.
I’ve seen many versions of this from other media outlets, all citing MPR as their source. This seems to be a version of the “Noor heard a loud noise, was startled, and shot Damond because she was there” argument. The brief article also demonstrates how little the media knows about police procedure and the justice system.
Several media sources have suggested the BCA requested a warrant to search the alley where Damond was, shot, but that makes no sense. Alleys are public property, and as such, the Fourth Amendment is not implicated. The police can generally search public property to their heart’s content without a warrant. MPR is also almost certainly referring to an affidavit requesting a warrant. That’s the first step in the process. A police officer files an affidavit explaining his probable cause to search a specific place or person, and outlining precisely what he expects to find. Assuming MPR is accurate in their quotations, what we may be seeing is the fruits of Officer Harrity’s statement to the BCA.
If a judge finds sufficient probable cause, he’ll authorize a warrant, which must be promptly served, usually within 24 hours, and usually only during daylight. Warrants will commonly repeat the probable cause in the affidavit. Regardless of whether the officers find anything or not, they are obligated to promptly file a return with the court, a document explaining what they did or did not find. If MPR has a clue what they’re doing, they’ll definitely want to get a copy of the return–if a warrant actually exists.
At the moment, we have no idea whose property was being searched, what the BCA expected or hoped to find, and what, if anything they found. This development may or may not suggest the BCA is relying on the car slapping narrative.
The local CBS affiliate’s most recent report about the bicycling witness may clarify what they could possibly have seen:
WCCO has also learned that a bicyclist who was riding through the alley at the time of the shooting stopped after Justine Damond was shot and recorded video of the two officers as they performed CPR on her. The bicyclist was reportedly so close that one of the officers asked him to back off. BCA investigators interviewed that witness Friday.
The CBS affiliate also reported some elements of the City Council want to actually run the police department, and the MPD is claiming there is no such thing as a “fast tracked” training program, and Noor’s training was not, therefore, fast tracked. If the CBS report is accurate, it’s unlikely the bicyclist could have provided any information that would support or conflict with Officer Harrity’s statement about the shooting.
The MPD has, for years, worked hard to pursue diversity in hiring, particularly under Mayor Betsy Hodges. Consider this Star Tribune report from April of 2015:
Our work must focus on growing our talented force and ensuring that it reflects the neighborhoods that it serves,’ Hodges said.
The department must weigh the need to replenish its ranks quickly with the desire to diversify, police spokesman John Elder said in an e-mail.
The latter goal can take longer to carry out. Minority candidates are in short supply, and those who are interested in law enforcement careers are competed for by many departments eager to diversify their forces, Elder said.
The current question is whether the MPD, particularly in the case or Mohamed Noor, cared more about diversity than hiring the best qualified candidate.
Records show that even after years of diversity planning, legal action and federal mediation, the Minneapolis department’s numbers of black and Hispanic officers still don’t reflect the city’s racial makeup.
‘Smaller departments need only hire one or two candidates of color to drastically increase their diversity,’ Elder said in an e-mail. ‘MPD, however, must hire such candidates in great numbers to have the same impact.
‘While we always look forward to hiring diversity from the traditional law enforcement process … we also recognize the need to go outside that process to bring candidates aboard,’ he continued.
This photograph, from an August 2014 US-African Leaders Conference in DC, to most Americans, would appear unremarkable. Perhaps then-President Obama was saying the US is number one? He was not. Mr. Obama was displaying the Shahada, the Muslim affirmation of faith. Notice two gentlemen behind Mr. Obama delighted with his gesture, not only because of its significance, but because he is identifying with them, with their shared faith, and crudely laughing at America in America. My 2015 article about that incident is available here.
Consider this photograph. Mayor Hodges, who was reportedly expecting a position in the Hillary Clinton Administration, is in the back row, third from the left. Notice the two men kneeling in the front row. Notice the broad grins on their faces. These are not people interested in diversity and assimilation. They are not telling Hodges she’s number one. They are laughing at Hodges and all Americans, and asserting the superiority of Islam in tricking the Infidels. In Hodges’ case, she is fulfilling the infamous title of “useful idiot.”
Everything I’ve seen about Mayor Hodges suggests her loyalties are not with the citizens of Minneapolis, unless such citizens happen to be immigrants, and particularly Muslim immigrants. She appears to be very much a card-carrying progressive Kool-aid drinker, far more interested in diversity and inclusion than the safety of the people she is sworn to serve.
Mohamed Noor should be heartened. The residents of Minneapolis, not so much.