by Alex Johnson
Street signs mocking Minneapolis police popped up around the city over the weekend in the wake of the fatal police shooting of an Australian woman, which led to the resignation of the police chief.
The signs, reading “Warning: Twin Cities Police Easily Startled,” appeared to refer to the July 15 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk, who used her fiancé’s last name, Damond.
The signs — which authorities pulled down as quickly as they went up, according to NBC affiliate KARE — appropriated language used by the partner of Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor, who fired the fatal shot from the passenger seat of his police vehicle, across the lap of his partner. Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators that he and Noor were “startled” by a soft spoken woman wearing pajamas before Noor opened fire on the 40-year-old meditation instructor.
Noor, who has retained a private attorney, has declined to be interviewed by investigators. He and Harrity are on standard administrative leave during the investigation.
KARE reported that the mock signs appeared to have been painstakingly made — they were fabricated of metal, they were painted professionally and they were mounted on street poles using heavy-duty screws, like official city street signs. There were no leads Monday on who was responsible for them, [but if caught they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, unlike the cop who fired the fatal shot against all police protocol].
Damond’s family has hired lawyer Robert Bennett, highlighting continuing questions about police use of force in the Twin Cities. Bennett represented the mother of Philando Castile in a $3 million settlement to avoid a lawsuit over Castile’s killing by police in a Minneapolis suburb last year.
The continuing controversy contributed to the resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau last week at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges. Hodges said she had “lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead us further.”
The police department, meanwhile, released Noor’s so-called service record on Monday, but the documents include no details on his job performance.
Previously released records show that he has been the subject of at least three complaints, one of which was dismissed, with the two others pending.