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Grand jury to look into Justine Ruszczyk shooting

Dozens of police officers are being subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in connection with the police-involved s...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 10:54 AM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 10:54 AM

Dozens of police officers are being subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in connection with the police-involved shooting death of a Minneapolis woman, a lawyer for the victim's family said Wednesday.

Attorney Robert Bennett, who represents the family of Justine Ruszczyk, said 35 officers were summoned by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

In July, Ruszczyk was shot late at night after calling 911

Police union says officers will cooperate with grand jury

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a news release that its members will fully cooperate in the grand jury process.

Still, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will make the decision whether to bring charges in the officer-involved shooting case, according to a statement from his office.

"Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we cannot comment on grand jury subpoenas or any testimony that occurs before a grand jury," added spokesman Chuck Laszewski.

Last July, Ruszczyk, 40, called 911 late at night to report a possible sexual assault in the alley near her home. Less than 30 minutes later, she was dead from a gunshot wound to the abdomen, having been shot by one of the two police officers who responded to the call.

Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators that he drove to the scene and was startled by a "loud sound" near the squad car, according to Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Immediately afterward, Ruszczyk approached the driver's side window, and Harrity's partner, Mohamed Noor, shot Ruszczyk through the window, Harrity said.

Noor's attorney, Thomas Plunkett, said it would be unethical and possibly unlawful to comment on the grand jury development, as proceedings will take place in secret.

"Worse, any public comment would jeopardize the fairness of an important judicial function," Plunkett said.

He said his client "continues to personally acknowledge the grief" of Ruszczyk's family and the family of her fiance, Don Damond.

Noor remains on administrative leave. Harrity has returned to duty, Lt. Bob Kroll of the police union said.

Bennett said Ruszczyk's family was very happy the county attorney was calling for a grand jury and trying to compel many officers to testify under oath.

No video

Though the officers were wearing body cameras, they did not turn them on before the shooting, and the squad car camera did not capture the incident, investigators said.

That lack of video evidence has frustrated city officials and led the Minneapolis Police Department to update its body camera policy to require officers to activate them upon being dispatched.

Ruszczyk's death caused outrage in the United States and Australia and led to the resignation of the city's police chief.

Though she was a veterinary surgeon in Australia, her native country, Ruszczyk worked as a spiritual healer, yoga and meditation instructor, and life coach in Minnesota.

Damond, her fiance, said the two had planned to marry in late July.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
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Scott291867
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Marion249878
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Newton223151
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Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
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