Damond's Family Hires Castile Attorney

July 20, 2017 06:42 PM

The family of an Australian woman fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer has hired the attorney who represented the family of Philando Castile, who was also gunned down by an area officer.

Minneapolis attorney Bob Bennett said Thursday he is representing Justine Damond's family. He was with the family Wednesday for a vigil at their home.


And he said there is no reason she should have been fatally shot Saturday night after she had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

“In this case, there was no conceivable way this passive, spiritual healer and saver of ducklings, and a person who calls for help for other people is a threat, real or imagined, to any officer in uniform in the Minneapolis police department," Bennett said.

RELATED: Source Cops Thought They Were Caught in Ambush

On Wednesday, transcripts of the 911 calls Damond placed were released. Damond made two calls eight minutes apart to 911 about a potential sexual assault "along behind the house."

The officers involved in the incident did not have their body cameras activated, which Bennett said is wrong.

"We can't leave (turning the cameras on) to officer discretion, especially if the officers aren't trained well enough," he said.

And Bennett said the officer who fired the fatal shots reacted in a tragic way.

"I think it's the wrong officer with the wrong mindset that panics," he said.

RELATED: 911 Transcripts: Damond Called Twice to Report Possible Rape

Bennett also represented the family of Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was fatally shot by a police officer in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop last July.

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted in June of first-degree reckless homicide.

Timeline of KSTP Coverage of Yanez Trial

Castile's family reached a nearly $3 million settlement in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Matt Belanger

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