Lawyer Rejects Ambush Fear Defense in MN Police Shooting

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Robert Bennett, a lawyer representing the family of Justine Damond, the Australian who was shot dead by police in Minneapolis, has rejected claims the officer who fired the shots may have thought he was being ambushed, the Guardian reports. Bennett said Damond was in her pajamas at the time and clearly did not present a threat. “She obviously wasn’t armed, was not a threat to anyone, and nor could she have reasonably perceived to be,” he said. He criticized the comment by the attorney for officer Matthew Harrity, whose partner, Mohamed Noor, shot Damond, that it was reasonable for officers to believe they might be targets of an ambush. “I think that’s ludicrous,” Bennett said. “It’s disinformation … it doesn’t have any basis in fact.”

Harrity told investigators he heard a loud sound before officer Noor shot Damond. Harrity’s attorney, Fred Bruno, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune “it’s certainly reasonable” to assume any officer would be concerned about an ambush. He cited the recent death of a New York City officer killed in her squad car. “It was only a few weeks ago when a female NYPD cop and mother of twins was executed in her car in a very similar scenario,” Bruno said. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken out again about Damond’s shooting, saying the entire incident was “completely inexplicable.” Four days after the fatal shooting, Noor has yet to talk with investigators and his lawyer has given no indication he ever will.

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