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$50M Suit Filed by Family of Woman Killed by Minn. Cop

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's father says problems within Minneapolis PD are 'systemic'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2018 3:33 AM CDT
Posters of Justine Ruszczyk Damond are displayed Monday at a news conference by attorneys for her family in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Amy Forliti)
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(Newser) – The family of an Australian-US citizen who was killed by a Minneapolis cop last year after she called 911 to report a possible assault filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the officer conspired with his partner to hide what really happened. The complaint filed in US District Court alleges Justine Ruszczyk Damond's civil rights were violated when she was shot July 15, 2017, by Officer Mohamed Noor, who has since been fired and charged with murder in Damond's death, per the AP. It claims Noor and his partner that night, Officer Matthew Harrity, conspired to cover up facts surrounding the shooting and made a conscious decision not to activate their body cameras. "Had they done so, there would be video and audio recording of the fatal shooting of Justine, and Harrity and Noor would not be free to concoct a story in a vain attempt to insulate Noor from civil and criminal liability," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit—filed by Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, and naming both officers, the city, and the current and former police chiefs as defendants—seeks $50 million, plus punitive damages. Ruszczyk said in a statement that problems within the Minneapolis Police Department are "systemic" and he wants to see reform "to the extent necessary to stop such senseless acts from happening again and again." City Attorney Susan Segal said in a statement that the city was reviewing the lawsuit. "Justine saw something, and she said something ... and she got killed for doing so," the family's attorney says. "We haven't had any explanation, so we're going to sue these people to find out." The criminal case against Noor is pending; he has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say there was no evidence Noor encountered a threat that justified the use of deadly force.

(Read more Justine Damond stories.)

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