— With AAP.
1. “Visceral and shocking”. Justine Damond’s family endure graphic evidence in court.
A Minneapolis judge has described police body camera video of Australian life coach Justine Damond-Ruszczyk dying in an alley as so “visceral and shocking” most lay people would not be equipped to watch it.
The footage from four Minneapolis police officers, including Mohamed Noor who shot Ms Damond dead, was cleared to be shown to the jury, members of the media and public during Noor’s murder trial.
The judge originally blocked media and the public, but an alliance of media organisations successfully argued the ban should be lifted.
“The footage on these BWCs (body worn cameras) shows the last moments of human life and the struggles of police and medical personnel to save that life,” Judge Kathryn Quaintance wrote in a memo filed in the case late on Wednesday.
“These moments are well outside the personal experience of most people.
“Most lay people are not well equipped to take in such visceral and shocking material.”
Before the more than 22-minutes of footage played in court on Thursday, Judge Quaintance warned it was graphic and said observers in the court could leave.
Ms Damond’s American fiance Don Damond and other family left. Her father John Ruszczyk and his wife stayed, squeezing hands with Damond and other family members as they passed.
The video showed the confusion that went on after the shooting: The recordings capture images of Harrity and Noor each administering CPR, their statements to the victim, who does not appear to be conscious, and her gasping for breath.
Minneapolis police officer Scott Aikins arrived at the scene after Ms Damond was already on the ground. Video from his body cam showed shortly after Ms Damond was pronounced dead by paramedics, he asked if police needed to look for a gun.
He was told no. The gun that shot Ms Damond belonged to his colleague.
Noor, 33, has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the July 15, 2017, shooting of Ms Damond at the entrance of an alley near her Minneapolis home.
He entered not guilty pleas.
Noor’s lawyer has argued the officers were “spooked” and Noor shot in self-defence.
A day earlier, Judge Quaintance looked toward the packed public gallery in her Minneapolis courtroom and issued a warning before autopsy photos of Ms Damond were shown to the jury on large screens. Thee judge wanted to offer an opportunity for anyone to leave.
Ms Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, and stepmother Maryan Heffernan, had been stoic during the first two days of evidence.
They decided to stay.
What they saw was a parent’s worst nightmare.
A day earlier Ms Damond’s American fiance, Don Damond, told the jury just how full of life his Australian sweetheart was but on Wednesday photo after photo showed the lifeless 40-year-old former Sydneysider with a single bullet wound on the left side of her stomach.