Residents, Activists React to Noor Charges by Calling for Justice in Officer-Involved Shootings

March 20, 2018 10:22 PM

Southwest Minneapolis residents and community activists Tuesday evening reacted with a rally to the charges against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor and called for more transparency and justice in officer-involved shootings. 

Noor was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Justine Damond last June.

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Attendees of the rally, organized by the community group Justice For Justine, gathered at West 50th Street and Washburn Avenue South, near the location where Damond was shot. 

RELATED: Community Shows Support for Damond's Family

During the rally, many chanted "Justice for Justine, justice for all," which served as a recurring message from the event's speakers. 

"While we are gratified that charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter have been filed against officer Noor, and that the legal system has finally been forced to put facts in an opportunity for justice ahead of what seems to be the normal protection of police officers in a corrupt system, it is not enough," Kathy Hamberg, with Justice for Justine, said. "We need a conviction."

Hamberg added she hopes Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's decision to charge Noor is not a "one-off." 

Civil rights attorney and community activist Nekima Levy-Pounds referred to the charging decision as "bittersweet." Levy-Pounds said it should not have taken the shooting of Damond to bring the issue to the forefront. 

"The sad part is that we have to celebrate being charged, even though a charge will not necessarily lead to a conviction in a system that is broken, unjust and corrupt," she said."I think that the agony that many of you all went through, and many activists went through the last eight months, is symbolic of the agony that we have gone through for decades because of the brokenness within this system and the unequal treatment under the law that people of color and poor people face under this system." 

While speaking, Levy-Pounds called Freeman's charging decision an anomaly. Pointing to the Jamar Clark case, Levy-Pounds said she feels Freeman fails to hold police officers accountable. 

Digital Extra: Noor Investigation Key Documents, Elements

"I have to be honest, justice for one does not mean justice for all," Levy-Pounds said. 

Michelle Gross, with Communities United Against Police Brutality, echoed Levy-Pounds' sentiment, saying that all who have lost their lives to unnecessary use of force by police deserve justice. 

"We are tired of the lying, we are tired of the cheating, we are tired of the lack of accountability. We are done with it," Gross said. "And we demand what (Damond) got, for everybody." 

Gross, along with other speakers, said that while charges have been filed, Twin Cities residents need to remain vocal to bring about change.

"We better be in that courtroom, and we better apply pressure to (Freeman) to make him actually go through with a real trial, a real prosecution, that will result in a real verdict." 

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