Statement on the Police Killing of Justine Damond
Women’s March Minnesota would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Justine Damond. No one should ever lose their life at the hands of those sworn to protect them. Not Justine, not Philando, not Jamar, not Cordale…and these are just a handful of local names. Women’s March Minnesota is deeply saddened by the continuing senseless shootings of friends, community members, neighbors, and people across Minnesota and the United States at the hands of the police. We’d also like to thank all those individuals and other activist groups that showed up on Sunday for the vigil and that continue to show up.
We, at Women’s March Minnesota, are calling for the following immediately:
- We call for immediate release of dash cam audio and all information pertaining to this case.
- We expect a thorough and transparent investigation of Ms. Damond’s killing. Since that has yet to happen, we are calling for a federal investigation that brings all necessary resources to Justine’s case.
- We want both officers to face penalties for violating Minneapolis' body camera policy.
- We call for prosecution of the officer that shot and killed Justine Damond.
In addition, we are requesting a commitment to hold open forum, community-led meetings with the City Council, Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau throughout Minneapolis to provide them with a true opportunity to hear all our all our communities voices and commit to significant systemic change.
At the State Level, we want citizen oversight of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board funds, “The Philando Castile Training Fund”. We call for transformation of the policing system in our state, requesting that we learn from Police Departments that have successfully implemented de-escalation and other non-lethal techniques.
These requests also include:
- That the use of body cameras should not be left to the discretion of the officer. The use of the body camera should be automatically triggered to allow for full transparency and accountability.
- All police officers should receive comprehensive and ongoing racial and gender bias training.
Finally, we no longer support the status quo management of the police department and the police union, and call for a management restructuring with citizen participation and review.
We know Justine is not the first to be slain by a police officer in Minnesota or elsewhere. We continue to stand in solidarity with the groups who have fought vigilantly year upon year for justice and systemic reform.