Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hundreds attend memorial honouring Australian woman killed by U.S. police officer

Hundreds attend memorial honouring Australian woman killed by U.S. police officer

And now each step on the footpath is so very painful.

"Some would call it a cruel irony", Don Damond said during the service.

The father of an Australian woman shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer responding to her 911 call said he was "crushed by sorrow" a week ahead of what would have been his daughter's wedding.

"It felt like a privilege to love Justine", said Damond, He shared with the crowd some of the optimism expressed in three or four pages of words she would free-write every morning.

The gathering also featured flute and didgeridoo (an Australian instrument) music, an artistic performance involving a maypole and a poetry reading.

Ms Damond was shot by police officer Mohammed Noor on July 15 after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home.

"In Australia, they call it 'you're punching above your weight, ' alright?" I feel it. We all feel it. Look at the turnout - this is about love and care.

"We should be walking arm-in-arm down the streets smiling and laughing", he told hundreds of people gathered at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. "I still can say, 'I love you, Justine.' And that love is real". I am reminded by Justine's death that love is not bulletproof.

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"I don't understand", he said. "And I have huge gratitude for being the one she chose".

Meanwhile, a judge has approved a search warrant for investigators to examine the smartphones of two Minneapolis police officers linked to the fatal shooting.

'Justine, thankyou for your handsome light that still SHINES on us all, ' one thoughtful sign read.

Noor's partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators a noise startled him just before Ms Damond approached their police SUV.

It will end with a silent and solemn walk around Lake Harriet. Noor shot through the open driver-side window from the passenger seat and fatally struck the Australian bride-to-be.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.

Her family set up the Justine Damond Social Justice Fund to support causes important to her, including those promoting equal treatment for all.

But the ongoing investigation and details from that July night slipped from view at Friday's gathering, which focused on healing and unity.

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