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The optics were troublingly different, as Noor was inaccurately accused of being a fast-tract affirmative action hire. A Minnesota jury duly found Noor guilty of third degree murder and manslaughter, though acquitted him of a count of second-degree murder. He had become the first police officer to be convicted of murder in Minnesota in 'recent memory' — a statement worth recalling in and of itself. A change to the vague body camera policy, and the resignation of Minneapolis' police chief, had already taken place.

Her grieving father, John Ruszczyk, was content that the decision 'reflects the community's commitment to three important pillars of a civil society — the rule of law, the respect for the sanctity of life, and the obligation of the police force to serve and protect'. A closer reading of the entire process presents a more complex, and troubling picture.

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From the start, this case seemed different. Then Chief Janee Harteau was impatient to get proceedings against Noor going. A little bit of premature adjudication was also thrown into the mix, but this did not endear her. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges wanted a scalp and demanded the veteran's resignation, having 'lost confidence in the chief's ability to lead us further'. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman also fell into the over-enthusiastic trap of publicly pressing the case against Noor, expressing frustration before union members in a recorded address at what seemed to be a lack of initial evidence.

Authorities, and officials, wanted a conviction. This was in stark contrast to the previous year's killing of Philando Castile by MPD's Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer who pulled over his victim for a broken tail light. Castile's death, inflicted by five shots as he was reaching for his license, was recorded and streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend. Officials proved aloof: Castile had been pulled over 49 times for mostly minor traffic violations.


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Yanez was charged with manslaughter and predictably acquitted. While pleased by the efforts made in the Damond case, Castile's mother, Valerie, could not help but note disparities. The jury in her son's case, for instance, had been selected in one day; it had taken a week for Damond. When the disparity between the cases on the issue of prosecution and treatment was noted to Freeman, he coolly dismissed it.

While Noor offered a suitable demonology, Damond offered the prospect of commemoration and worship. Identity Evripa, a California-based white nationalist group, created a memorial in her honour featuring candles, flowers, a framed portrait and a sign saying 'United We Stand'.


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The initial vacillation over bringing charges against Noor was noted by the group. The legal process, it seemed, had found their man. The subtext here was that letting Noor off would have been dangerous, with relations between the MPD in otherwise safe and affluent areas damaged. In doing so, he echoed the sentiments of thousands of black residents.

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For all that, a troubling note of self-congratulation seemed to prevail at Noor's demise. The MPD would be reformed.

Suitable catharsis had been reached. There was even a somewhat smug temper in Australian coverage of the trial, with the ABC's Conor Duffy speculating that Damond, had she returned to Sydney as originally intended, would hardly have been shot in Sydney in similar fashion. The more relevant and tragic point is that the rule of law and its variable appraisal of both perpetrators and victims in America's police culture, remain marked by the politics of cruel difference.

In Valerie Castile's words , 'it's so unfortunate in our country people are treated differently'. If there's one thing that the recent election campaign and its outcome demonstrated, it's the depth of the divisions that exist in our Australian community. Our politics is focused on point-scoring, personalities, and name-calling across party lines.

The media, for the most part, don't help, driven by the hour news cycle and the pursuit of advertising dollars into a frenzy of click-bait and shallow sensationalism. Eureka Street offers an alternative. It's less a magazine than a wide ranging conversation about the issues that matter in our country and our world; a conversation marked by respect for the dignity of ALL human beings.

The politics of the police

Importantly, it's a conversation that takes place in the open, unhindered by paywalls or excessive advertising. And it's through the support of people like you that it is able to do so. Noor's actions on that fateful night resulted in the death of an innocent woman. That the perpetrator is a man of colour and the victim a white female should not be the subject of political inference, yet this has undoubtedly entered the public consciousness. What allowed this to happen? A culture of disregard for the sanctity of human life, whether it be people of colour or white people.

Mohamad Noor's training was obviously woefully inadequate. And black people in America, as elsewhere, still are significantly disadvantaged. Pam 03 May Binoy, I thought Mohamad Noor's actions in shooting Justine displayed a callous indifference for the sanctity of human life and an unbelievable arrogance in the circumstances. Just because he is a cop with a weapon doesnt give him the right to blast someone in an alley just because he heard a noise. Sure there are ethnic differences and the Castile case probably went the wrong way.

Trigger happy cops are an absolute menace.

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When I was 18 we were travelling to Cairns through West Wyalong and were pulled over for speeding 80 km in a 60km Street at 5. I was sleeping in the back seat. The cop pulled my friend driving out of the car and punched him 5 times in the head. When I attempted to get out the back door he slammed the door on my leg and grabbed at his gun, saying any arguments would be settled with this.

The prejudice or unconscious bias of an individual officer would become sufficient grounds for stopping someone in the street and rummaging through their bags, pockets and clothes. The problem of police discretion is a very old one. In London, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, constables and night watchmen followed their patriarchal impulses to stop and search any woman they encountered walking the streets after dark.

In , they did this on a massive scale in Brixton as part of Operation Swamp Riots ensued. As numerous studies have shown, however, officers continued to discriminate, simply finding other explanations for their suspicions — clothing, time, neighbourhood, manner of walking. The situation was made worse by the introduction, under New Labour, of the Terrorism Act , which allowed searches without reasonable grounds in areas deemed under imminent threat.

Policing was a public service which, like all other public services, had to be cut in times of austerity. As Home Secretary, Theresa May oversaw a spectacular reduction in the number of stops and searches carried out each year. Occasionally, she claimed anti-racism as a motive, but her driving force was the fact that mass stop and search was an enormous — and expensive — waste of police time and resources.

Why is Keep Politics Out Of Policing important?

As activists have long argued, and as recent research has made irrefutably clear, stop and search neither deters nor detects crime on any meaningful scale. What this actually means is not clear, but early indicators suggest there will be no easy escape from the problems of the past.

Unsurprisingly, almost all of those people are black. If there is a way to make stop and search work fairly, let alone effectively, this is not it. Your email address will not be published.