Another Alternative Healer mysteriously dies, around the US more than 60 Alternative Doctors have had very mysterious endings. This time an Australian born.
Facebook is reporting:
She quoted RW Emerson on her website: “Live in the Sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air!”
Her interest in supporting people to heal and transform themselves developed after she saw family members suffer greatly from depression, alcoholism and cancer.
After losing much of her family to cancer she has spent many years on a personal investigative journey to discover how habits and disease develop.”
“Dr Damond was a qualified veterinary surgeon, and she’d moved overseas and she worked spiritually to heal other people with their medical problems in the United States.
Some of the quotes from folks were:
“Absolutely (she made a difference to a lot of lives), especially ours. We have had a joyous relationship with her up until now.
“(We will remember her for) her energy, her intelligence and the joy she bought to our lives.
“I am happy to have known Justine and her untimely, tragic death is a reminder to live life fully, love deeply, and take risks to love as we are not promised tomorrow.”
On LinkedIn, the former veterinarian defined herself as a “Speaker, Coach & Consultant for Neuroscience & Meditation Based Change Initiatives.”
Her interest in supporting people to heal and transform themselves developed after she saw family members suffer greatly from depression, alcoholism and cancer.
After losing much of her family to cancer she has spent many years on a personal investigative journey to discover how habits and disease develop.
“Two officers responded to a 911 call about a possible assault in the alley off of West 51st Street between Washburn and Xerxes avenues around 11.30pm, according to a statement released Sunday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.” 1
Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges claims that they will get to the bottom of why the officers’ body cameras were not turned on, “As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night.”2
The local community has been upset by the incident, and rightfully so. We are so sorry for this family’s loss and hope the investigation will wrap up soon so that they may have closure.
“At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” the statement said.
But the BCA offered few other details on what precipitated the shooting and, it said, neither of the responding officers had turned on their body cameras before the shooting. The squad car camera did not capture the incident, either.
Investigators are looking into whether other video of the shooting exists, the BCA statement said. When the state investigation is completed, the results will be given to the office of Hennepin County Attorney Michael O. Freeman for a review of whether any charges should be filed. A spokesman for Freeman declined to comment Monday about the shooting.
All Minneapolis police officers have worn body cameras since the end of 2016, according to the city, a policy decision that was announced last July, after a black motorist named Philando Castile was fatally shot by a police officer in the Twin Cities area.
“We all want to know more; I want to know more,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. “I call on the BCA … to share as much information as they can as quickly as they possibly can.”
The mayor, who represented the Fulton area as a city council member, called the shooting a “tragic incident” and said she has questions about why the officers’ body cameras were not turned on.
“Tonight, I’m sad, and disturbed,” Hodges wrote on Facebook Sunday night. “This is a tragedy — for the family, for a neighborhood I know well, and for our whole city. … There is a long road of healing ahead, and a lot of work remains to be done. I hope to help us along that path in any way I can.
Authorities told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
Three people “with knowledge of the incident” told the Star Tribune that the responding officers pulled into the alley behind Damond’s home. The woman, wearing pajamas, approached the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver, reported the Star Tribune. The officer in the passenger seat shot Damond through the driver’s side door, the three people told the newspaper.
When asked about the Star Tribune report, Jill Oliveira, spokeswoman for the BCA, said only that the investigation is in the very early stages and the state agency will provide details as they become available.
The scant details have left Damond’s friends and family in shock and confused over the circumstances that led to her death.
“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach Damond, Justine Damond’s stepson-to-be, said in a video posted to the Women’s March Minnesota Facebook page. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call the police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”
He added: “America sucks. These cops need to get trained differently. I need to move out of here.”
“She was a very passionate woman, and she probably — she thought something bad is happening,” the 22-year-old said. “Next thing I know, they take my best friend’s life.”
Nancy Coune, office administrator for the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community Center, where Damond has worked as a Sunday speaker and meditation teacher for the past 2 1/2 years, described her as a “nonviolent” person.
“She’s not the type to provoke somebody. She would’ve maybe stepped in and helped somebody,” Coune told “It’s quite unbelievable … She was sweet. She was beautiful. She was kind. She had a bright light about her. Everybody wanted to be her friend, and this happened to her? In a very low-crime-rate neighborhood? Nobody understands.”
Coune said Damond and her fiance have both devoted their time to making people’s lives better and had talked about helping to improve race relations in Minneapolis. Don Damond is a volunteer at a local prison, where he teaches meditation, Coune said.
Despite Damond’s sudden death, Coune said she and others at the community center are not angry.
“Because that’s so opposite of what Justine was and what we actually teach and practice here,” she said.
Damond’s death has become a top story in Australia, where her photo is splashed across the top of major news sites. Those same sites reported that the shooting has also shocked and confused friends back home.
“How someone teaching meditation and spreading love can be shot dead by police while in her pajamas is beyond comprehension,” Matt Omo, Damond’s friend, told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation.
Alisa Monaghan, another friend, said Damond moved to the United States to “follow her heart” and to find “new life,” the ABC reported.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is providing consular assistance to Damond’s family.
In a statement released by the agency, Damond’s family in Australia said: “This is a very difficult time for our family. We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this has happened. We will not make any further comment or statement and ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you.”
Friends and family are demanding a federal investigation into her death, News.com.au reported. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment Monday.
Damond attended high school in Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a bachelor’s of veterinary science degree in 2002, according to the ABC.
Her personal and business website says she was a qualified yoga instructor, meditation teacher and a personal health and life coach.
The website says Damond’s “interest in supporting people to heal and transform themselves developed after she saw family members suffer greatly from depression, alcoholism and cancer.”
It continued: “After losing much of her family to cancer she has spent many years on a personal investigative journey to discover how habits and disease develop, and how people can change and live in joy, expressing their full potential.”
Three mayoral candidates, Minneapolis NAACP officials and about 250 other friends, family and community members attended a vigil Sunday night where Damond was shot.
“Many of us who have been on the front lines have been warning the public, saying if they would do this to our fathers and our sons and our brothers and our sisters and our mothers, they will do it to you next,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the candidates and a civil rights attorney. “I really hope that this is a wake-up call for this community to stop allowing things to be divided on the lines of race and on the lines of socio-economic status.”
Friends and neighbors called her a “peaceful, lovely woman” who loved animals and helping others.
“This woman was a beautiful light,” Bethany Bradley of Women’s March Minnesota said at the vigil. “She was a healer. She was loved. And she should be alive. She should still be here.”
Damond is one of at least 524 people fatally shot by police in the United States this year, and the fifth such person in Minnesota, according to a Washington Post database tracking such deaths. Among people shot by police, she represents an outlier: Men make up the overwhelming majority of people fatally shot by officers. Damond is at least the 23rd woman fatally shot by an officer this year, accounting for just over 4 percent of all fatal police shootings.
Damond’s death is the latest to draw scrutiny to how police officers in the Twin Cities area use deadly force.
Last year, an officer from a suburb fatally shot Philando Castile, a local school worker, during a traffic stop that was partially streamed online. Castile’s death in July 2016 set off heated demonstrations that continued for weeks. Protests flared up again last month when a jury acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Castile, on all counts.
Just weeks before Castile’s death, federal authorities said they would not bring criminal charges in a November 2015 shooting involving Minneapolis police officers. Two officers fatally shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark, whose death sparked demonstrations. The prosecutor announced last year that the officers would not be charged, saying they believed he was trying to grab one of their guns.
A month before Castile’s death, the Justice Department said the officers would not face federal civil rights charges.
Clark’s death prompted a wave of protests outside a Minneapolis police station, demonstrations that eventually saw a burst of violence. Gunfire near the protests injured five demonstrators in November 2015, and prosecutors charged a group of men with the shootings. Last month, two men in that case pleaded guilty, while another had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
THE police officer who gunned down Australian bride-to-be Justine Damond has offered his condolences to her family, saying he has them in his ‘thoughts and prayers’.
In a statement released by his lawyer, Mohamed Noor says he takes the shooting ‘seriously’.
“He takes these events very seriously because for him being a police officer is a calling,” his lawyer Tom Plunkett said. “He entered the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves.
The statement came shortly after the heartbroken husband-to-be of Justine Ruszczyk Damond made an emotional appeal about the loss of his fiancee, saying his family is “utterly devastated”.
Don Damond, 50, made the statement outside his Minneapolis home where his fiancee, 40, was gunned down by a Noor on Saturday night after calling 911 for help.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner, after conducting an autopsy on Ms Damond, has issued a statement saying she died from a gunshot wound to her abdomen.
OFFICER BREAKS SILENCE
The exact circumstances behind the shooting remain unclear, despite the release of an unofficial recording of the dialogue between Noor and his partner while in their patrol vehicle.
His lawyer said in the statement: “Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers. ”
He adds Noor arrived in the United States at a very young age and “is thankful to have had so many opportunities”.
Mohamed Noor (centre) fatally shot an Australian bride-to-be. Picture: Facebook/Betsy Hodges
“The current environment for police is difficult but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling,” Plunkett said.
“We would like to say more and will in the future. At this time however, there are several investigations that are ongoing. More importantly Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy of the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.”
A SHOT IN THE DARK
Scratchy audio of the police radio conversation has been uploaded to a Minnesota website that monitors the state’s police scanners.
It captures the moments around the fatal shooting of the Australian spiritual healer and meditation coach.
The police audio begins with the description of a “female screaming behind the building”, believed to be what Ms Damond told the dispatcher in her initial 911 call.
The officers are heard communicating with their dispatcher over the police radio, including calling for back-up.
Ms Damond, dressed in her pyjamas, reportedly approached the driver’s side window of the police car when it arrived in the alley and officer Noor shot across his partner at Ms Damond more than once from the passenger seat.
“Shots fired … we have one down,” one of the officers says.
The tape then records their attempts to perform CPR on Ms Damond.
A mobile phone reportedly found near Ms Damond’s body raised the prospect police thought it was a gun. No weapons were found at the scene.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau released a statement saying the investigation into Ms Damond’s death would be expedited.
“I want to acknowledge the pain and frustration that family and community members have following the fatal officer-involved shooting on Saturday night. This is clearly a tragic death,” she said.
“I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death. I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.”
The Sydney woman’s grieving partner revealed she had called 911 on Saturday when she heard noise in the alley behind the family home.
“Our hearts are broken and we are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine,” he said.
“As you know, it was Justine who called 911 on Saturday evening, reporting what she believed was an active sexual assault occurring nearby.”
Mr Damond was damning of police, saying the family have been provided with “almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived”.
“We’ve lost the dearest of people and we’re desperate for information,” he said.
“Sadly our family and I have been provided with absolutely no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived. We’ve lost the dearest of people and we are desperate for information. Piecing together Justine’s last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.”
Mr Damond said Justine’s death was a loss to everyone who knew her.
“She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart. She was a teacher to so many and living a life of openness, love and kindness,” he said.
“She was so kind and so darn funny. It is difficult to fathom how to go forward without her in my life.”
The Minneapolis Police Department officer who shot Ms Damond was identified as Mohamed Noor, who had little more than two years’ experience on the force.
Noor and his partner, whose cameras were not turned on during the shooting, have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Minneapolis’ Star Tribune reports the partner, who did not fire any shots, as being officer Matthew Harrity.
Noor joined the Minneapolis Police Department in March 2015 and is the first Somali-American police officer assigned to the 5th Precinct in the southwest part of the city.
Noor’s lawyer, Tom Plunkett, confirmed Noor fired his weapon, killing Ms Damond, who was originally from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
The Star Tribune reports Noor has been sued once for his involvement in a May 25, 2017 incident, where he and two other officers came to a woman’s home and took her to a hospital. The woman alleges this constituted false imprisonment and assault. Lawyers acting on behalf of the officers say they believed the woman was suffering a mental health crisis.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is conducting the investigation, said in a statement that “initial interviews with officers” still weren’t complete two days after the shooting.
The BCA said an autopsy has been conducted on Ms Damond’s body, adding their investigation “does not determine whether a law enforcement policy was violated”.
A FAMILY’S GRIEF
Ms Damond’s soon-to-be stepson, Zach Damond, was approached by local media outside his home on Monday.
When asked by Fox 9 what he’d like to say to Noor, he said: “Why? Why would you do this? He has no idea the impact that he has on thousands of people. No idea.”
“But I hope that he wakes up every single day and thinks about it. And then I hope that he thinks about how he can be a better person because that’s what she did every single day. And if you don’t do that, you’re not even living either.”
Don Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino, was away on business when his partner was murdered and arrived at their home yesterday afternoon.
Earlier, Zach posted a poignant video about his “best friend”, who had previously spoken out about America’s gun culture.
“Basically my mum’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” he said.
On Monday morning, a steady stream of neighbours and friends arrived to lay flowers and tributes where Ms Damond was killed. Many expressed shock at the murder in their quiet middle class neighbourhood.
“This was not a woman who would have presented any kind of threat to police. She was a gentle, loving person,” said Joan Hargrave, who lived down the street and befriended Ms Damond a year ago through a shared love of dogs.
Laurie Engel, who lives across the street from the driveway where Ms Damond fell, said she didn’t hear a shot but watched in horror as police swarmed the area following the shooting.
“I was struck by the size of the body lying under the blanket there, I thought at first it must have been a child,” she said.
“It was only later that I realised it was Justine, and it was such a shock. She didn’t deserve this to happen.”
Statement on the death of Justine Ruszczyk also known as Justine Damon1:54
Neighbour Julie Reed reads a statement on the death in the USA of Justine Ruszczyk also known as Justine Damon, in Freshwater on Sydney’s Northern beaches. Ms Ruszczyk was shot by police after she called them to a disturbance in Minneapolis
A crowd of more than 100 gathered at a vigil yesterday to remember the corporate speaker and meditation teacher, who moved from Sydney’s Northern Beaches three years ago and was to marry US businessman Don Damond, 50, next month.
“This woman was a beautiful light. She was a healer, she was loved, she should be alive — she should still be here,” said neighbour Bethany Bradley.
A family friend, who only wanted to be identified as Hannah, described the couple as “just so in love”.
Activists were among the mourners outside the Damond home yesterday, and they quickly linked her name with other high profile victims of police shootings.
Large love hearts were chalked onto the driveway near where Damond fell, with the names Jamar Clark and Philando Castile, whose killings at the hands of police sparked protests and marches.
Hannah, 21, said she was a friend of Zach’s and echoed the questions of many.
“I don’t know what she was doing out,” Hannah told the local Star Tribune newspaper
“She’s such a kind woman. She took me in when I was in a tough situation and helped me with whatever I needed.”
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges also questioned why the officers’ cameras weren’t filming and vowed to get answers on behalf of Damond.
“As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,” Mayor Hodges said at a press conference yesterday.
‘There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to.”
Originally published as Damond killing: cop breaks silence
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