An attorney for the family of the unarmed Australian woman fatally shot by police in Minnesota on Thursday strongly rejected suggestions the officers may have acted out of fear of an ambush.
Bob Bennett dismissed the claims as “ludicrous” in an interview with the local CBS TV station in Minneapolis.
He noted that Justine Damond, a 40-year-old meditation instructor and life coach, was still in her pajamas and was the one who had called police to report a possible assault near her home.
One of the responding officers, Matthew Harrity, told investigators he had been startled by a loud noise just before Damond approached the police car.
Harrity’s partner Mohamed Noor fired from the front passenger seat, killing Damond, according to the authorities.
“It’s certainly reasonable to assume that any police officer would be concerned about a possible ambush under these circumstances,” Harrity’s attorney Fred Bruno told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper on Wednesday.
Bennett called such claims “disinformation,” and said Damond’s fiance Don Damond and her family in Australia may consider a civil suit, according to TV station WCCO.
“She obviously was not armed, she was not a threat to anyone nor could she have reasonably been perceived to be,” Bennett said Wednesday.
The Minneapolis-based attorney recently represented the family of motorist Philando Castile in another high-profile police shooting case in Minnesota.
Castile was killed during a traffic stop last year, after informing Officer Jeronimo Yanez that he was carrying a gun, for which he had a legal permit.
Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter, prompting demonstrations. Bennett helped the family receive a $3 million civil settlement.
Join GhanaStar.com to receive daily email alerts of breaking news in Ghana. GhanaStar.com is your source for all Ghana News. Get the latest Ghana news, breaking news, sports, politics, entertainment and more about Ghana, Africa and beyond.