Body camera video shows details of lawsuit naming Mpls. Officer Noor, 2 others

- The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond in July has yet to speak about the case, but body camera footage obtained by the Fox 9 Investigators shows Officer Mohamed Noor in action during another incident that is part of a current lawsuit in federal court.

At issue is the power of the police to take away someone's rights.

The suit resulted after three police officers conducted a health and welfare check, taking a Minneapolis resident to a nearby hospital on a mental health hold.

Did officers arrive at Teresa Graham's door to rescue her from herself? Or, as her lawsuit claims, did they come to retaliate against her full-throated complaints that the MPD ignores safety concerns?

MAY 25, 2017

Police reports describe it as a "welfare check”--a door knock to see if a person is ok.

MPD body cam footage shows what occurred when officers Amanda Sanchez, Mohamed Noor and Sgt. Shannon Barnett came to Graham’s door on May 25.

Sanchez: "Hi."

Graham: "What are you doing at my home?"

Sanchez: "You called us for help or something."

Graham. "I didn't call you. I want you to listen…”

The video shows police taking the screen off of the storm door and entering her home. Then, they grab her by the arms.

Graham: "Get off my property now.

Barnette:  "Here, come here."

Graham: "How dare you."

Noor: "Put the phone down. Put the phone down."

Graham: "Hello, help."

"I think what these people did was reprehensible," Graham said.

She was detained by the officers who forced their way into her home without a warrant.

Among the three was Mohamed Noor, who just seven weeks after this incident shot and killed Justine Damond while responding to a 911 call just a few blocks from Graham's house.

Barnette: “I think we need to have you checked out."

Graham: "For what?

Barnette: "I think you're in a mental health crisis."

Graham: "Well, I'm not in a mental health crisis."

Barnette ordered an ambulance to take Graham against her will to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Graham: "I have legal rights."

Barnette: "And right now I'm taking them away from you and putting you on a hold."

State law gives police officers the power to put a hold on someone if they believe that person is a threat to themselves or others.

Barnette: “We're more concerned about your welfare."

Graham: "Oh, you are so full of bull****. I am not a danger to myself or anybody else."

Graham spent a career as a licensed independent clinical social worker and school social worker. Now in retirement, she still considers herself an advocate.

She's criticized law enforcement for not doing enough to crack down on crimes against vulnerable adults.

"What a mess that whole system is, and it needs to be addressed for everybody in the community," she said.

On the day of the incident with police, Graham made a 911 call in the morning about a stranger smoking marijuana in the alley behind her house.

Graham said she moved her car to the front of the house and went inside to wait for a squad to arrive. She said she never saw one after an hour of waiting and had to leave for a medical appointment shortly after that.

Later in the afternoon, she called the Fifth Precinct to find out what, if anything, had come of her 911 call in the morning. She also fired off some emails to city officials to complain about a lack of police response to some vulnerable adult reports she'd filed involving the care of a relative.

At 8:20 p.m., Noor and Sanchez showed up at Graham's house. It would be the first of two encounters they'd have in a matter of hours.

"I thought they were finally responding to the call that I had made that morning, a little late," Graham said. "But they weren't."

According to police reports, they were dispatched because an anonymous caller claiming to be a cousin of Graham's contacted 911 to say she'd been making threats against him and his family.

A portion of this encounter was recorded on Sanchez's body cam, though Noor apparently did not have his camera on at the time

The video shows the officers talking with the woman.

Graham: "Who called you? Just a second, don't go away."

Graham left the officers at that door and disappeared from their view to grab her cellphone to take pictures of them.

The conversation resumed when she returned with her phone.

Graham: "OK, who called you?"

Sanchez: "My partner’s checking."

Noor returned from the squad car a few moments later.

Graham: "I thought maybe you were finally showing up about the stranger that was smoking.”

Sanchez: “Nope. No, we're showing up because you were harassing or making threats."

Graham: “I have harassed nobody.”

Sanchez:  “My partner is about to tell you who it is.”

Noor: “We had someone call and that's why we're responding here. But we apologize that we disturbed you. Have a nice evening, OK?”

Sanchez: “Bye."

The two officers left and Graham called 911 to complain.

Graham: "How dare you harass me at my home when you didn't even show up at my home at 9:56 today when I called 911 to report someone who was using drugs on my property. You people are beyond bizarre and I want a call from the Minneapolis Police Department Inspector Waite, now."

A sergeant did call Graham back, though Fox 9 does not have a copy of that call.

Graham claims the Sargent was dismissive of her concerns.

At 9:43 p.m., Officers Noor and Sanchez returned to her home and were accompanied by Sargent Barnette.

Graham:  'What are you doing at my home?"

Sanchez: "You called us for help or something."

Graham: "I didn't call."

Sanchez: "Are you sure?”

Barnette:  "Hi Teresa, I'm Sgt. Barnette, we talked on the phone."

Graham: "I didn't call you."

Barnette: "We talked on the phone about a half hour ago."

Graham: "You identify these people right now."

Noor: "She's getting her phone, she's going to record this."

Officers then try to open the storm door, but it was locked.

Graham:  "Don't you dare try and open my door."

Barnette rattles the handle.

Graham: "This is my home."

Barnette: “Ok.”

Graham: "Get off my property now.”

She closed the main door on the officers and called 911 again.

Graham: "Get them off my property now. It's harassment."

The officers removed the screen from Graham's storm door and start knocking.

Barnette:  "If you open up the door and talk to us, we'll leave."

The impasse continues for about three minutes.

Graham: "I want you to listen. Get off my property now”

Barnette: "Here, come here."

Graham: "How dare you."

The Sergeant tells Graham that a squad did check on her morning complaint about the stranger in the alley.

Graham: "So what has that got to do with anything?"

Barnette: "Nothing. You don't think that the cops ever responded, that's why you're so angry. I said a squad did drive by."

Graham admits she was agitated, but said she did nothing that demonstrated she was a danger to herself or others.

A doctor who evaluated her at the hospital that night determined she was not hold-able and she was released.

"It did seem really bizarre for the police to use the mental health statutes to go after someone because they found them annoying," said Graham’s attorney, Jordan Kushner.

The MPD told the Fox 9 Investigators it "cannot comment because a lawsuit has been filed in this case."

None of officers involved would comment either.

EXPERTS WEIGH IN

Fox 9 showed the body cam videos to Steve Wickelgren, a therapist and former Minneapolis cop who trains officers in crisis intervention, and asked him to grade the way officers handled the situation.

“The decision I agree with," he said. "How it was handled, probably a B."

According to Wickelgren, officers could have been more empathetic, but he believes it was appropriate to place Graham on a hold and let a medical expert decide if she needed help.

Don Betzold is an attorney who's an expert on civil commitment cases. He's also a former State Senator who was involved in passing mental health legislation.

"She wasn't posing any problem with anybody other than she was mad," he said. "That's not a reason to bring a person in for a welfare check. If she's out in public, yelling and screaming, that might have been more of a cause to bring her in than if she's in her own home and she's agitated."

Fox 9 also showed the videos to a prominent psychologist who preferred not to be named in this story. He said if the officers truly felt Graham was a threat, why did they allow her to leave their sight as she got her phone.

She could've been going to get a gun.

"It think it was pretty clear that they were peeved with me, kind of like they were going to teach me a lesson," Graham said.

Her lawsuit accuses the police of violating her constitutional rights by entering her house without permission and holding her against her will without just cause.

She also got a $3,000 bill for the trip to the hospital.

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