Around midnight on Saturday, Justine Damond was fatally shot by Minneapolis police officers. The 40 year old Australian woman, who was set to be married next month, called law enforcement to report a possible assault taking place behind her home. Instead of investigating the assault, the responding officers killed her.
Justine Damond became the 661st person to be killed by a police officer in the United States this year, the shooting is alarming especially considering it happened less than a month after a different Minneapolis police officer was acquitted of the murder of Philando Castile.
What makes this crime particularly suspicious is that the two police officers didn’t have their body camera’s turned on, which in and of itself is illegal in Minnesota. Last May, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation requiring that all law enforcement officials have their body cameras turned on while on duty. Furthermore, the video camera in the police cruiser suspiciously didn’t pick up any video footage of the event.
According to reports:
“Three sources with knowledge of the incident said Sunday that two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver. 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 incident is unfortunate, and all too common. The number of people killed by law enforcement officials is at its highest in at least 2 decades, and we have gotten to the point where people legitimately have to think twice before reporting a violent crime.
The militarization of law enforcement, combined with legislation meant to give police even more power seems to ignore the problem. The powerful police unions who spend millions of dollars a year lobbying for more legal protection and financing encourage violence. If we are going to see a dramatic reduction in police violence, than government officials need to demand accountability, instead, they’re doing the exact opposite.