Police Chief: 'Justine Didn't Have to Die'

Harteau makes first comments on shooting of bride-to-be
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2017 3:48 AM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2017 4:34 AM CDT
Chief Makes First Comments on Shooting of Bride-to-Be
Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau, center, stands with police inspector Michael Kjos, left, and assistant chief Medaria Arradondo during a news conference Thursday, July 20, 2017 in, Minneapolis.   (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

"Justine didn't have to die," Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said Thursday in her first public comments on the shooting of an Australian bride-to-be who had called 911 to report hearing a possible sexual assault. The chief described the fatal shooting as "unnecessary" and said she had spoken to the family of Justine Damond and promised them justice. Harteau recently returned to the city after a vacation backpacking in a remote area. "For a chief, this is a nightmare, not only to have an event like this occur but to not be here,” she said, per the Pioneer Press. "But I assure everyone in this community that there wasn’t anything that didn’t get done."

Harteau said the actions of officer Mohamed Noor, who shot Damond when she approached a squad car, went against "how we train and the expectations we have for our officers." But she rejected former Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that the Somali-American officer was an "affirmative action hire," the Star Tribune reports. "This is about an individual officer’s actions. It is not about race or ethnicity," the chief said. "We have a very robust training and hiring process. This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer." She did not provide further details on the shooting, but said she hopes Noor will start talking to investigators. (Here's why Noor doesn't have to ever talk to them.)

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