March 26, 2019 09:41 AM
The father of an Australian woman, shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer, is speaking out against the officers involved in his daughter's death.
John Ruszczyk spoke with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Anchor Megan Newquist in his first interview with an American journalist since the death of his daughter, Justine.
Newquist traveled to Sydney to talk with John to learn more about his daughter and how he's emotionally handling the case.
Justine called 911 on July 15, 2017, to report what she thought was a woman being raped in the alley behind her south Minneapolis home.
Officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor arrived 10 minutes after Justine made the initial call. Two minutes later, the officers cleared the scene.
A Timeline of Events in the Case
What happened next left Justine dead: From his passenger's seat, Noor fired his gun across Harrity's face, through the driver's side window and struck Justine, according to Hennepin County prosecutors.
"This guy shot my daughter. How did he get in this situation? How did they get down the alleyway?" John said. "Well, we should know how they got down the alleyway because they're supposed to have their body cameras on. We would know everything they said, we would hear everything that happened, but they didn't have it on."
Harrity and Noor violated department policy by not having their police body cameras recording.
Noor, who was fired from the department soon after the shooting, is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
His trial date is set for next April. He has not spoken with investigators. Harrity has given a statement to investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
"How does it make you feel that he hasn't said a word?" Newquist asked regarding Noor's silence.
"It's his constitutional right… But I want to let you know he has spoken with me," John said. "He has spoken with me in his conduct that night and since. If you can ever say actions speak louder than words, I think this is the time I would say that."
John said his daughter is never far from his mind, 15 months after her death. He said he wishes Justine could tell him a different story about that fatal night.
"I want to hear my daughter's voice telling me about the night, 'Dad, I called 911. I went outside, I walked up to the police car because they'd driven by and you know what? The police were so nice, they said, 'Can I help you ma'am?''" John said.
Instead, John said he is left to imagine her final moments and try to make sense of what happened to her.
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In the days after he flew to Minneapolis to be with Justine's fiancé, he said that at night he would walk down the very alley where his daughter was killed. On one of those nights he stopped walking and tried to re-imagine Justine's last moments.
"I laid down where Justine died one night, to see what she saw," John said. "Later I said to my son, 'Jase, I laid down where Justine died' and I looked up and he said, 'Dad, I did the same thing.' I said, 'What did you see?' And he said, 'I saw the stars…' Then I said, 'I saw them too, I hope that's what she saw.' That she would go up into the mystic as they say. But then I said, 'I wonder if she saw him before she died.' Then I said, 'I wonder if he was looking into her eyes when the light went out? I wonder if he's haunted by that?'"
"Do you hope he is?" Newquist asked.
"No comment," John said.
In September, the Ruszczyk family attorneys filed a $50 million civil suit against the officers, the police department and the city of Minneapolis.
John said no one has apologized for the shooting death of his only daughter.
Megan Newquist & Ana Lastra
Updated: March 26, 2019 09:41 AM
Created: October 25, 2018 09:32 AM
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