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Minneapolis police must turn on body cameras after Damond shooting

By Ed Adamczyk and Danielle Haynes
A search warrant filed this week says a "slapping" sound against a police car was heard in the moments before 40-year-old Justine Damond was fatally shot on July 15. Photo courtesy Justine Damond/Facebook
A search warrant filed this week says a "slapping" sound against a police car was heard in the moments before 40-year-old Justine Damond was fatally shot on July 15. Photo courtesy Justine Damond/Facebook

July 26 (UPI) -- Minneapolis police officers must now turn on their body cameras as soon as they are dispatched to any call as part of a new policy in the wake of the shooting death of Australian woman Justine Damond, the police chief said Wednesday.

Officers also are required to turn on the recording devices during "self-initiated activity."

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"What good is a camera if it is not being used when it may be needed the most?" asked Minneapolis Acting Police Chief Medaria Arradondo during a news conference.

The new policy goes into effect Saturday.

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Officers' body cameras were not activated July 15 when one fatally shot Damond, 40, near her home. Officers responded to her home after she called 911 to report what she believed to be a rape outside.

Minneapolis officials say they heard a "slapping" sound against a police car in the moments before they shot her, a court document indicates.

A search warrant filed Monday suggests the unarmed Damond may have been the source of the slapping sound.

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"Upon police arrival, a female 'slaps' the back of the patrol squad," the warrant, used by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to search the area of the shooting, states. "After that, it is unknown to [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley."

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It is presumed that the female mentioned in the warrant refers to Damond, who also used the name Justine Ruszczyk. The warrant suggests that she struck the police car with her hand, then approached the driver's door, where she was shot by officer Mohamed Noor as he sat in the front passenger seat.

However, the warrant does not make clear whether that was the same noise that officer Matthew Harrity said startled him in the moments before the shooting. It also does not expressly state that it was Damond who slapped the vehicle.

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Noor and Harrity are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Damond's shooting prompted debate about police methods in Minneapolis, and led to the resignation on Friday of Police Chief Janee Harteau.

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