A memorial service has been held for an Australian woman shot dead by a police officer responding to her emergency call.
Justine Damond’s father John Ruszczyk choked back tears at the service, which was held at the time the family had planned to be on a plane to attend her wedding, and vowed to get justice for the 40-year-old daughter who had been “ripped from our arms”.
During a visit to Minneapolis, where Ms Damond was shot, Mr Ruszczyk said: “We should be walking down the street smiling and laughing, But now every step on the foot path is very painful. I feel crushed by sorrow.”
The memorial service was attended by hundreds of people, many wearing heart-shaped stickers and an Australian flag was displayed on the stage next to Ms Damond’s picture.
Her fiance, Don Damond, said it “felt like a privilege to love Justine”.
The couple were due to get married next week in Hawaii and Mr Damon said it was a painful irony that the service held at a lakefront stage near her home in southwest Minneapolis coincided with the family’s original travel plans.
He said: “I have immense gratitude for being the one she chose. In Australia, they call it ‘you’re punching above your weight’. I really had to step up to be at her level.”
Her family set up the Justine Damond Social Justice Fund to support causes important to her, including those promoting equal treatment for all.
The investigation into her death has taken a new development after a judge approved a search warrant for police to examine the smartphones of two Minneapolis police officers in the shooting.
The warrant states that the information “may more clearly define” the officers’ actions before and after she was killed on 15 July.
It is alleged that the officer, Mohamed Noor, shot Ms Damond after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home.
Mr Noor’s colleague Matthew Harrity told investigators he was startled by a noise just before Ms Damond approached their police SUV.
Mr Noor was in the passenger seat and shot Ms Damond through the open driver-side window.
He has refused to be interviewed by investigators and cannot be compelled to do so.
The officers had not switched on their body cameras and now Minneapolis police are required to have them activated when they respond to calls or stop drivers.