Justine Damond death: Police remove white nationalist memorial

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Justine Damond's family have been frustrated by the investigation into the fatal shooting

Minneapolis police have removed a memorial created by a white nationalist group to honour an Australian woman killed by a Somali-American officer.

Identity Evropa said it created the "shrine" to Justine Damond after a prosecutor suggested there was not enough evidence to bring charges.

Damond, 40, was killed after calling police to report a woman screaming outside her Minneapolis home in July.

Officer Mohamed Noor fired at her when she approached his police car.

No formal charges have yet been brought against him.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was recorded earlier this month telling a gathering of union members that he was frustrated at a lack of evidence to charge Mr Noor.

Mr Freeman has since apologised for his remarks, saying they were "ill-advised", and promised more details on the "status of our charging decision" in the coming days.

Identity Evropa said it had created the memorial of candles, flowers, a framed portrait and signs reading "United We Stand". In a statement on Twitter, the group claimed that a judge had decided not to bring charges, and said: "One family will be having an incomplete Christmas this year".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Speaking to Minnesota Public Radio, police department spokesman John Elder said the memorial was removed when police were notified about its presence.

"We cannot allow any memorial and anything like that to be put up at that location," he said.

Minneapolis Mayor-elect Jacob Frey condemned the creation of the memorial, saying: "Identity Evropa and those who share their values have no place in our city. Hate has no place in Minneapolis. Period."

White nationalism in America

Identity Evropa is a California-based white nationalist group whose members advocate for a white-only state and chant "You will not replace us" at rallies.

Members of the group were present at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August, where a young anti-racism activist, Heather Heyer, was killed after a car drove into protesters. James Alex Fields is on trial accused of Ms Heyer's murder.

"We are deeply concerned about the possibility that the initial investigation was not done properly and with greatest integrity and sense of completeness," said her father, John Ruszczyk.

Ms Damond's death sparked outrage in Australia, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it "inexplicable" and "a shocking killing".

The shooting also prompted protests in the US and led to the resignation of Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau.