As Justine Damond Homicide Trial Starts, Detective Testifies Area Was Well-Lit

Sandy Malone

The chief of Minneapolis PD homicide testified that the alley was well-lit where Justine Damond was fatally shot.

Minneapolis, MN – The head of the homicide unit testified at the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor on Thursday that the alley where the officer shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond was lit brightly enough that he could clearly see the crime scene when he arrived.

Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman testified that he was confused by the sight of a barefoot woman covered by a sheet, with no weapon nearby, when he arrived in the alley where the incident occurred on July 15, 2017, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

“I didn’t see anything, and my first thought, frankly, was, ‘What the [expletive]? Why isn’t there something here?’” Lt. Zimmerman testified. “You’re looking for things that add up.”

The defense has argued that the lighting in the alley was bad and that the officers could not clearly see Damond, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

But Lt. Zimmerman said that he could clearly see and that there was a streetlight next to the scene that illuminated both the police car and Damond’s body.

“I could see the officers that were there. I could see the victim just like I’m looking at you right now,” he testified.

The now-infamous shooting of an Australian woman who called police to report a suspected crime in the alley behind her house occurred when 32-year-old Officer Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, responded to Damond’s 911 call, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

With Officer Noor in the passenger seat, Officer Harrity pulled into the alleyway behind Damond’s house with the patrol car’s headlights deactivated, and removed the safety hood from the holster of his duty weapon.

He said that he heard a dog barking as he neared Damond’s home, and that he slowed the vehicle to two miles per hour, but never stopped.

Approximately two minutes later, the officers approached the end of the alley, and waited for a bicyclist to pass as they cleared from the call.

Officer Harrity said that moments later, he heard a voice and a thump towards the rear of the patrol car, and then “caught a glimpse of a person’s head and shoulder’s outside his window.”

He said that the person, later identified as Damond, was approximately two feet away, and that he could not see her hands, and did not know if she had any weapons.

The startled officer recalled having said, “Oh s**t,” or “Oh Jesus,” and grabbed for his duty weapon, believing his life was in danger. He said he drew the weapon and held it to his rib cage, pointed downwards.

Officer Harrity said that he then heard a noise “that sounded like a light bulb dropping on the floor, and saw a flash.”

After checking to see if he had been shot, Officer Harrity said he realized that Officer Noor’s right arm was extended towards him, and that Damond was standing outside the driver’s side window with her hands on the left side of her abdomen, covering a gunshot wound.

She said, “‘I’m dying,’ or ‘I’m dead,’” according to the court documents.

Officer Harrity rushed to her aid, and told Officer Noor to re-holster his weapon and to activate his bodycam.

He initiated CPR, and Officer Noor eventually took over. Damond died at the scene.

Testimony at Noor’s trial revealed that several of the officers at the scene that night, including some who attempted life-saving measures, had no idea that Damond had been shot by a police officer, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

On Thursday, jurors began reviewing bodycam and other surveillance video from the night of the shooting.

Noor is charged with second-degree murder with intent, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

His field training officers and two psychiatrists had raised concerns about then-Officer Noor’s fitness to serve the community for more than two years before he shot Damond.

Comments (11)
No. 1-9

That he was allowed to continue to work after all those concerns were raised does suggest that either the police administration or the city administration had more of an interest in keeping the officer due to his being of Somali background than in letting go of a failing recruit.


Tragic mistake, but I don't get charging him with "murder with intent", obviously he didn't drive into that alley intending to shoot her.


He didn't go to college to be a cop.... "Noor, for example, graduated from Augsburg College in 2011 with a bachelor's degree. He majored in economics and business administration and management. Noor had recently worked as a hotel manager in Bloomington." See it here: It's "quota" the Cities want, not quality trained officers.


Me thinks this guy should never have been a cop, quota’s to fill, not with the most qualified but with the most color perhaps? Seems to me that Minnesota is full anti American haters.


You can take a Somalian out of Somalia, but you can’t take Somalia out of a Somalian.


Racism goes both ways. There’s: “No you cannot be a part of this department because you are Somalian” and then there’s: “shit!? we can’t fire him even though he’s a shitty cop, he’s Somalian, he might bring up a lawsuit”. Then the person in question can take The racism and use it to their advantage and turn it into a discrimination lawsuit. Either way, in the end, the employer loses. Get stuck with a shitty employee who sucks at what they do, or get slapped with a discrimination lawsuit. Society now a days. SMH (shake my head)


Read an article last year about how Minneapolis pretty much did away with psychological evaluations of police officer candidates. Apparently they had a fairly standard psych eval like most departments use, consisting of something like six phases or tests, which seems to have washed out a lot of minority candidates. Minneapolis gradually reduced the psych eval to a bare minimum single phase/test, in order to meet their minority hiring quotas. It is quite likely that Noor would not have passed the old six-phase psych eval, and that Noor was not psychologically fit to be on the street as a police officer carrying a gun. I would wager that Noor was in a constant state of fear, bordering on panic, the entire time he was working on the street, and was a disaster just waiting to happen.

Tragically, Ms. Damond paid the price for misguided PC multi-culturalism and diversity, and the City of Minneapolis is just as culpable as Noor for her murder. Desperate to fill an arbitrary minority hiring quota, Minneapolis showed a depraved indifference to human life in its reckless hiring of psychologically unsuitable police officer candidates. Whomever it was in the city administration that is responsible for gutting the psych evals, and responsible for hiring and arming unqualified officers like Noor, should be sitting in the dock with Noor, being held to account for the death of Ms. Damond. It is shameful and it is criminal.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The teen testified that he was riding to a friend’s house to drop off marijuana belonging to the friend on the night of the shooting. He said he had an earbud in one ear and put the other one in “to ease the nerves” when he spotted a police SUV after crossing the intersection of S. 51st and Xerxes avenues.

He told the court that he saw two officers outside of their squad, along with a woman in jeans and a tank top standing nearby holding a phone to her ear with one hand and the other hand raised in the air.

How close was she to the vehicle? Lofton asked.

“Not very close, but not very far,” he responded, saying it was between 7 and 10 feet.

The lighting was “good, really good,” he said, corroborating several witnesses’ testimony that the area was lit well enough to see faces and objects. The prosecution has zeroed in on lighting as a reason Noor should have acted more reasonably by identifying Damond before shooting.

The teen said that he ducked his head down and continued bicycling by until he heard a gunshot. The loud shot startled him, he said, and he immediately straddled his bicycle, walking it down the street as he began recording on his iPhone.

“I mean, it’s the day and age of phones,” he said. “It’s a cop shooting — gotta record it.” . . .

After returning to his house later that night, the teen said he sent the video to seven to 10 friends on Snapchat. He wasn’t contacted by state investigators until several days later, when “three all-black vans” pulled up to him as he walked out of his home, he said. At first, he was leery.

“Me knowing what went down, I didn’t immediately trust authoritative figures,” he testified, adding that he later agreed to speak to authorities.

The footage later surfaced on Facebook, the defense said.