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Supervisor at OIS questioned about how investigation and evidence handled, special treatment discovered

April 17, 2019 12:52 PM

Body camera footage was played in court Tuesday, showing the partner of a former Minneapolis officer talking to a sergeant at the scene of a fatal police shooting in July 2017.

Mohamed Noor fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond in an alley behind her home when the unarmed woman, barefoot and wearing pajamas, approached the police SUV where he and his partner were seated. Noor's attorneys say he was protecting his partner and himself from what he perceived to be a possible ambush.

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He is facing murder and manslaughter charges and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

KSTP's Joe Mazan reports the footage shown Tuesday shows Noor's partner Matthew Harrity in the aftermath of the shooting telling a sergeant at the scene "she just came out of nowhere."

He then said "I had my gun out and I didn't fire and then Noor pulled out and fired."

Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Katherine Waite also took the stand Tuesday morning.

RELATED: Minneapolis Police Chief takes stand at Noor trial

Waite testified that she didn't hear anything about an ambush or a slap on the side of the squad car the night of the shooting.

She also said she had concerns about the way the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was handling the investigation.

Waite testified that she felt the body was left at the scene too long and shouldn't have been covered by a sheet, also that the BCA should have impounded the squad car that Noor and Harrity had been riding in instead of examining it at the scene. She was also concerned about the fact that the car was washed and placed back into service a short time later.

Mazan also reported that two paramedics who responded to the scene testified that no one there told them who shot Damond, or how long ago the shooting had taken place.

Later in the afternoon, Sgt. Shannon Barnette took the stand for several hours. Prosecutors pumped Barnette, the Incident Commander, for explanations on her role and decisions she made. Jurors watched and heard part of what she did and didn't do, because she admitted she intentionally turned on and off her body-worn camera several times. Two of which occurred when she talked with the two officers involved-- Noor and Harrity. 

"In hindsight I probably should have activated it," she said.

Barnette was also quizzed about why she didn't gather required information from the scene and the officers, including their statements. She didn't have a good answer and confirmed she left critical facts out of the incident report. When asked if she was hiding information, she replied, "no."

Also Tuesday, the judge ruled information about Noor's character and past behavior can be presented as evidence. Several key witnesses are expected to testify Wednesday and Thursday, including the then-Police Chief Janee Harteau, the bicyclist who rode by at the time of the shooting and Noor's partner.


 

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KSTP & Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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