Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV, July 23, 2018
A 45-page, four-count civil lawsuit has been filed in Minneapolis Federal Court seeking $50 million in damages for the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
She was killed July 15, 2017, by a Minneapolis police officer as she walked up to his squad car behind her south Minneapolis home after reporting a possible sexual assault near the alley.
“It’s beyond belief that she was a threat,” states Ruszczyk family attorney, Robert Bennett.
The suit is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages from the city, and officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity, for the killing. Officers that Bennett says were unexperienced and unfit for duty.
The civil suit also holds the city of Minneapolis, former police chief Janee’ Harteau and current chief Medaria Arradondo responsible. It claims the department leaders lacked proper command over the officers, and allowed lax adherence to department policies.
Bennett says the lack of body camera evidence in this case, which both officers failed to activate, “deprived investigators and jurors of the digital audio-video evidence the officers were mandated to obtain.”
The suit also alleges that Noor and Harrity conspired to conceal evidence by deliberately not activating body cameras, Noor’s refusal to speak to investigators and Harrity’s altering of his initial recollection of facts.