When Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released a statement about the fatal shooting of Justine Damond, it probably didn’t expect the community to respond in this manner.
Over the weekend, bright orange signs started popping up in the Twin Cities area, with a warning for the community.
“Twin Cities police easily startled,” the sign reads, showing a cartoon silhouette of a police officer firing two guns into the air.
The depiction is inspired by part of the BCA’s statement, which reads: “Officer Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad [car].”
Officer Harrity was the partner of Officer Mohamed Noor, who discharged his weapon and killed Damond outside her home.
The sound that startled Harrity and Noor is thought to be fireworks, and the community is not buying in to the idea that a police officer could be so easily startled as to shoot and kill an unarmed woman in her pyjamas.
The Advancement Project snapped a photo of one of the official-looking signs and posted it to Twitter. According to Star Tribune, at least two signs were spotted in the Twin Cities area and at least one of the signs was still up on Sunday night.
Screwed to a metal pole and created with a sans serif font identical to regular street signs, the “easily startled” warning does look quite official and could have easily been passed over by many for that reason.
A spokesman for the St. Paul Police denied having heard about the signs on Sunday afternoon.
According to more recent Facebook posts, the signs have since been removed.
Justine Damond’s death has brought the Minnesota community together, with many demanding to know why Harrity and Noor’s mandatory body cameras were switched off during the incident.
In a heartbreaking interview with Star Tribune, Damond’s fiancé revealed that he was the one who told her to call 911 after she allegedly heard a sexual assault happening nearby.
He asked Damond to call him back after she spoke to police.
“I have played this over in my head – over and over,” he says in the interview. “Why didn’t I stay on the phone with her?”
So far, Noor has refused to cooperate with an investigation into the matter.