On 1 Year Anniversary of Justine Damond's Death, Groups Remember and Push for Police Reform

July 15, 2018 10:50 PM

Family and friends gathered this weekend around the world to remember the life of Justine Damond.

On Sunday, a group gathered in south Minneapolis near where Damond was shot and killed a year ago by former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor. The shooting happened in the alley behind Damond's home, after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.


RELATED: Sunday Marks 1 Year Anniversary of Damond Shooting

'Justice For Justine' held a press conference commemorating the one-year anniversary. Speakers marked the somber milestone by reflecting on how her loss has reshaped the community and the group pushed for police reforms. 

"It hurts my heart to even think about who is next," one speaker said.  

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people in south Minneapolis Saturday, Damond's fiancé, Don, said the pain he experienced over the last year has been unimaginable.

RELATED: Timeline of Justine Damond Shooting

"As soon as that bullet pierced Justine's body, it pierced my heart too," Damond said.

Damond thanked his neighbors for their support. He said he misses Justine's quick wit and humor and said her life's mission was to help others.

"Whether it was ducks in a sewer pipe or a woman who yelled for help, Justine gave her life helping somebody," Damond said.

The crowd was also gathered to dedicate a brand-new park bench to Justine. It was installed on the banks of Minnehaha Creek in the Fulton neighborhood. Damond said the location holds a special meaning to him.

"It was there where I told Justine I loved her and there she said she loved me for the first time," Damond said.

It was afternoon in Minnesota when the people who gathered at the bench tossed pink flowers into the creek.

Thousands of miles away, at the same time, the sun rose on a beach outside of Sydney, Australia, where Justine is from. Family and friends gathered at dawn on Freshwater Beach.

RELATED: Memorials in Minnesota, Australia Held for 1-Year Anniversary of Justine Damond's Death

Justine's father, John Ruszczyk, speaking to Australian media, reflected on the new day and the pain it brings.

"When we got here, we experienced this beautiful sunrise, and Justine, because of her senseless killing, will never see the sunrise or hear the kookaburra again," Ruszczyk said. "Our communities here at Freshwater and in Minneapolis are waiting for judgment."


Joe Mazan

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