March 21, 2018 06:39 PM
The Hennepin County Attorney's decision to file criminal charges against now-former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor made newspaper and television headlines in Australia, the home country of the woman Noor fatally shot last July.
Justine Damond grew up Sydney before moving to Minneapolis.
"Australians view it as being particularly tragic," Australian journalist Zoe Daniel said. "It's this All-Australian girl from the northern beaches caught up in something (that) shouldn't have been."
When Noor was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Hennepin County, Daniel, a correspondent with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, got on a plane headed to the Twin Cities.
"It's resonated with people," she said. "There's that sense of feeling - of that could have been me calling the police to try and do the right thing."
Daniel's network previously sat down with Damond's family as they waited for charges.
"Justine was a beacon to all of us - we only ask that the light of justice shine down on her death," her father John Ruszczyk said in a documentary that aired in November.
After charges were filed Tuesday, the family's attorney Bob Bennett issued a statement on their behalf.
"Justine's family in Australia and the U.S. applaud today's decision to criminally charge Officer Noor with Justine's murder as one step toward justice for this iniquitous act," it read.
"While we waited over eight months to come to this point, we are pleased with the way a grand jury and County Attorney Mike Freeman appear to have been diligent and thorough in investigating and ultimately determining that these charges are justified. We remain hopeful that a strong case will be presented by the prosecutor, backed by verified and detailed forensic evidence, and that this will lead to a conviction. No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that."
Daniel will report back to Australia as Noor moves through the U.S. justice system.
"It also goes to that cultural difference in Australia to guns - police behavior," she said. "I think people find it quite stunning."
Updated: March 21, 2018 06:39 PM
Created: March 21, 2018 03:44 PM
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