MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - After late start due to weather Thursday, jurors in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor got to see the first body camera footage from the shooting scene.
The body camera footage came from Officer Scott Aikins, one of the first officers to arrive at the scene. Aikins helped tend to Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was shot by Noor when she approached his squad car. Damond called 911 earlier that evening to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her south Minneapolis house.
The body camera footage showed how little information responding officers had as they raced to the shooting scene. The officer can be heard saying, “What the hell is going on?" There is confusion in the alley because no suspect had been identified. Officers did not know if they should be searching for a gun.
The video also shows a brief glimpse of Noor sitting in a squad car.
Members of Damond’s family stepped out of the courtroom when the video was played.
While questioning Aikins, prosecutors asked whether he could make out faces and tell the difference between police and paramedics with the lighting in the alley. Aikins said yes, he could recognize people.
When it was their turn, Noor’s defense team pressed Aikins about working with a squad partner and relying on one another. The line of questioning was a clear effort to set up the idea of Noor responding to his partner, Matthew Harrity’s fear in the seconds before the shooting.
After the midday break, Lt. Richard Zimmerman was called to testify. When he arrived at the shooting scene and saw no weapon in the area, he reportedly said, “What the [expletive]? Why isn’t something here?" Sgt. Shannon Barnette, the incident commander, initially surmised the victim was “probably drunk or a drug addict.” Prosecutors say Sgt. Barnette turned off her body camera when speaking to Noor directly after the shooting.
Zimmerman, who has more than 30 years of experience with the department, told jurors he had never responded to a homicide in the far southwest corner of Minneapolis where the incident unfolded. Like Aikins, he reported lighting conditions were just fine, with a street lamp at the mouth of the alley where the shooting occurred.
Another body camera video captured Noor being escorted to a supervisor squad. An officer testified Noor was asking if Damond was going to be okay, but then became distraught when he realized she had died.
Both sides also argued over Noor's character during the jury break. The judge barred state from going to deep into Noor's prior police work, but defense has tried to nibble around edges about his professionalism. Prosecutors will be ready with some of Noor's failings if it continues.
Noor is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Damond's shooting death.