Community Demands Answers After Australian Healer Shot Dead By U.S. Police
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Americans have been increasingly groomed to accept the most egregious forms of injustice from police. While the media stirs people up into a frenzy over acts of terrorism and mass shootings – the startling truth is, that police kill more Americans in one year, than all mass shootings of our history combined. Think about that…
So what happens when senseless police violence inexplicably happens so often that an unsuspecting foreigner becomes the latest casualty behind occupied U.S. lines?
Australian Justine Damond, aged 40, was a natural, spiritual healer and yoga teacher who helped people heal their lives through meditation and health coaching. She forged a strong relationship with the Minneapolis community of Minnesota through her meditation workshops at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community. She also had veterinary experience in a previous home of Sydney, Australia. She was said to live in Minneapolis for the last few years and took the last name of her fiance, Don Damond, whom she was to marry this August.
Now, her family, friends, the community, the Minneapolis Mayor and perhaps Australia’s government want answers after Ms. Damond was shot dead in an alley late Saturday night by Minneapolis police, who had their body cameras turned off and the patrol car cameras out of view from the incident. They are on “paid administrative leave” pending an investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
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Ms. Damond had called the police to report a potential assault outside her South Minneapolis home, yet it was she who was shot dead by police in her pajamas outside in the alley that night, after two officers responded around 11:30 p.m. local time. Imagine Mr. Damond’s response when he came back from a trip to find out his bride-to-be was killed by bullets from his community’s police. Her stepson, Zac, says he lost his “best friend” and around 200 people gathered near the spot of her killing on Sunday to mourn and remember her.
After Damond’s students and mourners expressed dismay and bewilderment over Damond’s death and the officers’ body cameras being turned off, Mayor Betsy Hodges agreed. She said at a news conference, “I share the same questions other people have about why we don’t have body camera footage of it, and I hope to get answers to that in the days coming.”
“As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,” she posted on Facebook.
On Monday in Australia, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs put out a brief statement on behalf of the family.
“My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zac said in a tearful Facebook video.
We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Justine Damond and our sympathy for her death and a world robbed of her warm and caring spirit.
A number of people may be quick to assume Damond’s death is a part of a growing problem with holistic and medical doctors dying in mysterious ways in the last year or so. Sadly, this incident could actually reflect an entirely different issue involving the policing system we all pay into for society’s protection.