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Justine Damond: Killer cop ‘fast-tracked’ through training

THE policeman who shot and killed Justine Damond spent just seven months in training before he joined the force, it has been revealed.

The Star Tribune reports, Mohamed Noor spent just months working his way through a quicker "non-traditional" route to policing, that is aimed at helping those who have a college degree begin a career in law enforcement.

Noor graduated from Minneapolis' accelerated police cadet program at Hennepin Technical College, where trainees are paid US$20 (A$25) per hour, in 2015.

Before becoming a police officer Noor worked in property management and managed a hotel.

Noor's lack of experience as a police officer, and the fact he was paired with another rookie cop in partner Matthew Harrity, has been the subject of much criticism directed at the Minneapolis Police Department since the shooting.

However before resigning on Friday former Police Chief Janee Harteau defended the 'fast-track' program.

Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau, center, stands with police inspector Kathy Waite, left, and assistant chief Medaria Arradondo during a news conference in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau, center, stands with police inspector Kathy Waite, left, and assistant chief Medaria Arradondo during a news conference in Minneapolis. Maria Alejandra Cardona - Minnesota Public Radio via AP

We have a very robust training and hiring process," she said.

"This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer. He was very suited to be on the street."

Ms Damond's fiance Don Damond will pick up her wedding dress today after she ordered it shortly before her death.

In an interview with The New York Times Mr Damond said he wished he had kept talking with her instead of urging her to call 911, after she heard what she thought was a sexual assault.

"I have played this over in my head, over and over," Mr Damond said. "Why didn't I stay on the phone with her?"

He said he thought she had gone to be when she didn't call back.

"There's like a glitch in the ­matrix," Mr Damond said.

"I just know I'm going to wake up from this nightmare."

That development came amid reports the woman suing Officer Noor has accused him of breaking into her home and assaulting her.

Theresa Graham alleged Officer Noor and another officer forced their way into her house on May 25 this year after she called 911, according to Nine News. Ms Graham lives less than two-kilometres away from where Noor shot Ms Damond.

The retired social worker called police with reports there was a strange man smoking marijuana at the back of her house.

According to the Nine Network, court documents showed Ms Graham alleged Noor snatched her phone before grabbing her by the arm and wrist so she couldn't move.

Theresa Graham is suing Mohamed Noor.
Theresa Graham is suing Mohamed Noor. Nine

She is suing Noor for false imprisonment, assault, battery and negligence.

However, Ms Graham's neighbours of 30 years have chosen to defend the police officer. One woman said she "calls the police a lot".

Another said: "Something could have happened, but I think if it did she probably exaggerated it".

Police officer Mohamed Noor who fired the shots that killed Justine Damond. Picture: Minneapolis Police Department
Police officer Mohamed Noor who fired the shots that killed Justine Damond. Picture: Minneapolis Police Department

FIANCE'S HEARTBREAKING TRIBUTE TO JUSTINE

Ms Damond's fiance has set up a memorial fund to support the causes most close to the slain Aussie life coach's heart.

An online fundraising page was set up on Sunday by Don Damond, the Minneapolis businessman she was to marry within weeks.

"Justine's death was tragic and devastating to her family and friends as well as an entire community in the US as well in her homeland, Australia," Mr Damond wrote on the Generosity.com page.

Don Damond and family members of Justine come out to greet protesters.
Don Damond and family members of Justine come out to greet protesters. Chris Juhn

Ms Damond- Ruszczyk was shot dead on July 15 after calling 911 to help a woman she believed was being sexually assaulted in the lane behind her home.

Attending officer Mohamed Noor killed her with a single shot from the front passenger seat of squad car 530 after hearing a loud noise as she approached their car. His lawyer is apparently attempting to build a defence that Noor and fellow Officer Matthew Harrity believed they were being "ambushed", a claim her family has dismissed.

"Justine lived her purpose of helping teach people about their full potential. She touched many souls as she reflected goodness, laughter and love in the world," Mr Damond said.

"This fund is to help support a memorial fund for Justine and charitable causes supporting social justice that were important in her heart."

Justine Ruszczyk Damond with fiance Don Damond and his son, Zach Damond.
Justine Ruszczyk Damond with fiance Don Damond and his son, Zach Damond. Facebook

It came as a family spokesman shed light on plans for a public memorial for the 40 year old meditation teacher, animal rescuer and former vet. Mr Damond has engaged the services of an event planner for the event, which will be held in Minneapolis at a date to be determined in August.

Ms Damond-Ruszczyk's final resting place has not yet been established, but the spokesman said Mr Damond and Ms Damond-Ruszczyk's Sydney-based father John Ruszczyk were in regular contact.

"Don has at every step sought to respect and honour John," he said.

There have been several marches and protests in Minneapolis over the past week, as the city reeled from its third highly controversial fatal police shooting in less than two years.

The fallout has already claimed police chief Janee Harteau, who resigned Friday local time after Mayor Betsy Hodges told her she had lost faith in her leadership.

"And from the many conversations I've had with people around our city, especially this week, it is clear that she has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well," Mayor Hodges said.

Protesters briefly took over Mayor Hodges' press conference following Chief Harteau's resignation, with many calling for the mayor herself to resign.

In this environment, the family spokesman said plans for Ms Damond-Ruszczyk's memorial were being carefully considered.

"Don understands that there will be many, many people who want to come and honour Justine and her memory," he said.

"So he is doing everything he can to make sure the event is appropriate."

Originally published as Killer cop 'fast-tracked' through training

Topics:  editors picks justine damond mohamed noor shooting

News Corp Australia


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