Mohamed Noor has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, but the bizarre aftermath of the Damond case continues apace. The Minneapolis PD, at the behest of the Mayor, if forbidding its officers, even on their own time and dime, to participate in “warrior-style” training. The Star Tribune reports:
In open defiance of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, the union that represents the city’s roughly 900 rank-and-file police officers announced that it is partnering with a national police organization to offer free ‘warrior-style’ training for any officer who wants it.
According to a news release posted to the Law Officer website, the free online training — valued at $55,000 a year — is offered to officers for as long as Frey remains mayor. The training, which covers a range of issues, from ‘officer survival’ and leadership to fitness and de-escalation, was designed to ensure that officers could ‘return home each day to their family regardless of the dangers that they may face and the ignorance of some politicians,’ the release said.
The announcement comes in response to Frey’s ban of the popular training style, which he first revealed in his State of the City address last week. Frey said at the time that Minneapolis would become the first department in the country to eliminate ‘fear-based’ training.
Trainings rooted in fear, he said, ‘violate the values at the very heart of community policing.’ His comments come as law enforcement tactics are under scrutiny following a series of high-profile deaths of civilians at the hands of police around the country.
One struggles to understand what Frey is talking about, but then, he’s a leftist mayor of a leftist city, so that’s to be expected:
We have adopted this new policy because proper training on use of force and de-escalation is of paramount importance,’ he said in a statement. ‘Officers found to pursue any training that conflicts with MPD’s training and has not been preapproved will be subject to discipline.”
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the police union, was undeterred on Wednesday, saying in an interview that he consulted with the union’s attorneys, who said Frey’s directive was unlawful. Kroll also defended the training, saying, ‘It’s not about killing, it’s about surviving.
Kroll is most likely right. Law enforcement agencies may not, generally speaking, regulate what officers do off duty, with some exceptions having to do with moral issues, and anything that might be unlawful.
This is a classic straw man. Justine Damond is not dead because of “warrior-style” or “fear-based” training. Mohamed Noor is a product of diversity hiring, and diverse, inclusive training provided by the MPD in accordance with the wishes of the leftist Minneapolis political establishment. He should never have been a police officer, and Minneapolis’ insistence on hiring unqualified and dangerous people like him cost Justine Damond her life. Doubtless, more just like him remain on the force, and Frey’s “directive” is just another smokescreen that he hopes will hide the city’s continuing, dangerous insanity.
As regular readers know, the MPD and the BCA (state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) did not cover themselves in glory in the Damond case, and the jury and Judge were, to put it mildly, exercised about their behavior. In fact, both demonstrated alarming incompetence, and particularly for the MPD, outright corruption. The Strib reports again:
The state agency that investigates officer-involved shootings across Minnesota is facing intense new scrutiny for alleged missteps in its investigation into the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, calling its reputation into question as critics ranging from activists to the governordemand answers. [skip]
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, who has broad oversight of the BCA, said he’s been talking since January, when he was appointed to the job by Gov. Tim Walz, with a coalition of partners about overhauling officer-involved shooting investigations. But, he said, the conversations about creating ‘best practices’ are early and have not yet yielded concrete ideas.
‘I really want to get a better sense of where we are in comparison with other agencies, and what other departments are doing nationally … so we can make sure that we are doing a better job,’ Harrington said. ‘I don’t know that there is a different model there, but that’s part of what we’re trying to learn.
Oh sure. Officer-involved shootings are such a brand new and rare thing no one could possibly have any idea how to handle them correctly. Certainly not the supposedly premier law enforcement agencies in the several states.
Harrington said his office plans to hold community meetings on the issue, but he did not have a clear timeline for when that would begin.
Yeah. That’ll really help. Let community organizers and activists tell the police how to do it. Proper procedures for dealing with officer-involved shootings are well known and no mystery to any police force or officer with an IQ above that of a snail. The only real difference from generic homicide investigations is investigators must take great care to be extremely thorough and professional, and to avoid even the hint of impropriety or favoritism. In many ways, such investigations are easier. The suspect is known, the murder weapon is known and recovered, and these days, there might even be body and/or dash camera video. All of the protocols dealing with the handling of evidence, the processing of the crime scene, report writing, etc. are basic law enforcement 101. That the supposedly premier state law enforcement agency and the supposedly premier municipal police agency in the state behaved like rank neophytes, and corrupt neophytes at that, cannot be repaired by holding community meetings.
Take the link to read the whole thing, where you’ll get a sense of just how dysfunctional the Minneapolis PD, the Minneapolis political structure, and the BCA, are.
As readers will also recall, I found the behavior of Prosecutor Mike Freeman bizarre and inexplicable. Now we know why, as The Strib reports:
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will enter treatment for alcohol abuse Monday and expects to return to work no later than mid-June, according to a statement he issued Friday.
Freeman, 71, abruptly announced last week that, after a conference with his doctor, he would take a leave to focus on his health. He announced the decision a day after sources said he had been acting strangely at a meeting in north Minneapolis.
In the written statement released Friday by his office spokesman, Freeman said that since he announced his leave he has been treated for high blood pressure and undergone an assessment for alcohol use.
He said he plans to enter treatment Monday, though he didn’t say where — only that the program is ‘well-respected’ — and asked that ‘the news media and the people of Hennepin County … respect my need for privacy so I can focus on my recovery.
Seven days ago, I began a medical leave based on my doctor’s recommendation. I am pleased that medication, stress reduction and sleep have stabilized my unacceptably high blood pressure. It was good news but I still have work to do.
‘I also have been evaluated for alcohol issues by a licensed assessor and we agree that I need treatment. With the love and support of my family, I am entering a well-respected treatment program beginning Monday.
‘I am determined to reclaim my health and, barring any unforeseen issues, my goal is to return to work by no later than mid-June.
‘Until then, I ask both the news media and the people of Hennepin County to respect my need for privacy so I can focus on my recovery. I am thankful for the well wishes I’ve been receiving from the people of Hennepin County during this challenging time.
‘In the meantime, everyone should have the same faith I have in the excellent staff and strong management of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to carry on the important work in my absence.
Considering, the “excellent staff” will doubtless do much better without Freeman. At least he had the sense not to try the Noor case. We all have feet of clay, but oh dear. Be aware, gentle readers, Freeman’s statement was made several weeks prior to Noor’s sentencing.
Also, gentle readers, take this link to MPR, where the state has begun to release such goodies as reports and body camera footage to the public. It does not encourage respect for the MPD. Some excerpts:
Minneapolis police officers who rushed to a residential alley in response to a call of shots fired were confused by the circumstances they found.
A woman was dead. She had no weapon. And the shooter was one of their own.
It’s nearing midnight as officers descend on the quiet southwest Minneapolis neighborhood. They find Noor and his partner in an alley performing CPR on Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond.
Officers ask where the weapon or suspect is. One asks if the shooting was a suicide or a homicide. When they learn there was no weapon, and that Noor shot Ruszczyk, some react with disbelief.
One officer, Robert Lewis, is heard telling another officer, ‘At first I thought maybe he shot somebody.’
‘He did,’ says the other.
‘Oh he did? So he hit the person?’ Lewis asks.
‘In the stomach.’
‘Shut up,’ Lewis says. ‘Shut up.’
[Sgt. Shannon] Barnette’s body camera footage shows her asking Noor’s partner, Matthew Harrity, what happened.
Harrity responds, ‘She just came up out of nowhere. On the side of the thing. We both got spooked. I had my gun out. I didn’t fire. Then Noor pulled out and fired.’
At trial, Noor testified that he shot Ruszczyk after he heard a thump on the squad car and thought his partner’s life was in danger. But prosecutors say Harrity didn’t mention anything about a noise the night of the shooting.
The proper response to such events is for officers to be cautious and open-minded. Be quiet about things, absolutely, if for no other reason than that there has been no investigation and you don’t know enough to say anything intelligent. But every officer has to be smart, and ethical, enough to know if one of their own has wrongfully killed someone, it’s personal and public policy idiocy to get tarred with the brush of their mistake. Whether an officer is well liked or not doesn’t matter. That kind of mistake is inexcusable; it has to be if law enforcement is to retain any credibility.
Speaking of ethics, Noor’s lawyers told us–and the court–he was “amenable” to probation without a prison sentence:
Attorneys for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed womain 2017 plan to ask a sentencing judge for no prison time.
If that’s not granted, they’re seeking less prison time than state sentencing guidelines recommend.
Mohamed Noor’s lawyers filed a motion Thursday asking for a ‘dispositional departure’ when he is sentenced June 7 for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. She had called 911 to report a possible crime.
Noor’s attorneys say he would be amenable to probation, in part citing his attitude in court and remorse. The maximum prison term for third-degree murder is 25 years. The maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years.
Yes. I’m sure he would have been amenable to that. Fortunately, the Judge was not amenable, and Noor will be adjusting to a rather different lifestyle.
The Audio of Damond’s two 911 calls is here.
The SMM Justine Damond archive is here.