Minneapolis police have removed a memorial that a white nationalist group created to honor an Australian woman killed by a Somali-American officer last summer.
Police spokesman John Elder told Minnesota Public Radio News that an officer cleared away the memorial when the department learned it was displayed outside its headquarters.
“We cannot allow any memorial and anything like that to be put up at that location,” Elder told the radio station.
The northern California hate group called Identify Evropa said on its Twitter account that it put up the memorial Friday. The group helped organize participants in the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
The memorial to Justine Ruszczyk Damond consisted of a framed portrait, candles, roses and signs reading “United We Stand.”
Officer Mohamed Noor shot Damond in July after she called to report a possible sexual assault No charges have been filed.
Damond, who was engaged to a Minneapolis man, called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. Responding officer Matthew Harrity reported being startled by a loud noise near his squad car. Damond, who may have rapped on the car, approached on the driver’s side. Harrity’s partner, Mohamed Noor, reached across Harrity from the passenger seat and fired. Damond died at the scene.
The memorial was placed on a sidewalk near an intersection outside the police station.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has yet to decide whether to file criminal charges against Noor. Freeman expressed frustration over the case during a union holiday reception earlier this month, telling activists that he didn’t have enough evidence to charge Noor and said investigators “haven’t done their job.” He also suggested Noor’s refusal to speak to investigators had put prosecutors in a difficult position.
“I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, (that) the moment he shot the gun, he feared for his life. And he used force because he thought he was gonna be killed,” Freeman said. “But I can’t. He won’t answer my questions because he doesn’t have to, OK?”
Freeman later apologized to investigators and said his comments were ill-advised.