1. The haunting final video of Justine Damond that’s started a legal battle.
A legal stoush has broken out in the US over whether police video of Australian yoga instructor Justine Ruszczyk Damond naked and “gasping for breath in the last moments of her life” should be shown to the media and members of the public.
Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance ruled last week the police body camera video should only be viewed by the jury, lawyers and herself during Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor’s murder trial.
A coalition of media organisations, led by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, challenged the judge’s ruling at a hearing on Friday.
Jury selection for Noor’s trial in Minneapolis began on Monday and will stretch into next week.
“I am trying to protect the pictures of this woman naked and her gasping for breath in the last moments of her life,” the judge said at the hearing, according to the Associated Press.
Noor, a 33-year-old Somali-American, has been charged with counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter and faces more than 40 years in jail if convicted.
He has pleaded not guilty on all charges, claiming self defence, the ABC reported.
Damond, a 40-year-old life coach and yoga instructor who lived in Minneapolis and was weeks away from marrying her American fiance, called police just before midnight on July 15, 2017, after she heard a woman’s screams and feared a sexual assault was taking place near her home.
In 911 transcripts released shortly after her death, she can be heard telling emergency operators she wasn’t sure if a woman outside her house was “having sex or being raped”.
“I think she just yelled out ‘help’ but it’s difficult,” she said.
“The sound has been going on for a while, but I think, I don’t think she’s enjoying it.”
Eight minutes later, at 11.35 pm, Damond called 911 again to ensure police were still coming to the scene. She confirmed her address and told the operator the woman in question was still screaming.
Damond was unarmed and dressed in her pyjamas when she approached Noor’s police vehicle in the dark.
Noor’s partner Officer Matthew Harrity was “startled” and “perceived that his life was in danger” when he heard a “muffled voice or whisper” and thump on the squad car when Damond suddenly appeared, according to prosecutors.
Noor was sitting in the front passenger seat of the squad car and shot across Officer Harrity, who was driving the vehicle, and out the driver’s side window striking Damond in the stomach, prosecutors said.