After the killing of Justin Damond by US police, an unarmed woman approaching a police vehicle after calling 911, in her pajamas, the prime minister of Australia has stated that Australian diplomats will be demanding answers from US officials on the matter.
“It is a shocking killing, and yes, we are demanding answers on behalf of her family,” prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told Australian TV. The killing of Justine Damond has sparked
what seems to be developing into an international incident, with foreign officials seriously questioning both the methods, tactics and competence of the US law enforcement personnel and systems.
2017 is shaping up to be one of the absolute deadliest so far when it comes to police shootings since records began, which shockingly wasn’t until 2013. Officer Mohammed Noor have been identified as the officer who fatally shot ms. Damond in the stomach as she was standing outside the window of his patrol vehicle. Officials have stated that the officers may have been “startled by a loud sound” near the vehicle, which also reflects on the training, competence, fitness and constitution of the officers, who apparently have deemed it appropriate to kill an unarmed woman with a gutshot, for standing by their vehicle when a “loud sound” is heard – which incidentally is what the 911 call from Damond was regarding in the first place.
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of people gathered for a dawn vigil at a Sydney beach to honour Ms Damond.
In silence, attendees including her family and friends lit candles and released pink flowers into the ocean.
“We are here to come together as a community around our beautiful Justine, to honour her life, share our love and mourn her death,” Ms Damond’s family said in a statement ahead of the vigil.
Approximately 1 in 20 people killed by police in the US this year have been unarmed, a shocking number in itself. In addition to humans, US law enforcement agencies murder approximately 10,000 dogs – pets and family members – for unclear reasons, often during unwarranted trespasses into private property.
Several countries have already issued travel warnings against the US, citing police shootings as one of the reasons. While the impact on tourism and business interests is unclear, there is no doubt that continued issues and escalations like the one ms. Damond was a tragic victim of, could become devastating to the tourism and hospitality industries.