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Testimony in murder trial of ex-Minneapolis officer nears completion

Chao Xiong and Libor Jany, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

Olson testified that he told the neighbor that the subject of her 911 call was likely "not relevant" to the death investigation. The neighbor had called about a woman with possible dementia walking near Damond's south Minneapolis home.

"Was that a good time to start deciding whether things were or weren't relevant to this investigation?" Sweasy asked.

"No," Olson said.

Olson testified that the BCA did not investigate the neighbor's 911 call or determine which officers had responded to it. But, he said, he changed his mind about the call's relevance once Nancy Dunlap, an investigator with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, informed him that Noor and Harrity had responded to the neighbor's call.

Prosecutors have argued that the neighbor's 911 call and Damond's 911 call later the night of July 15, 2017, should have put Noor and Harrity on alert that they were likely to encounter a victim or 911 caller and not a threat the night Damond was killed.

Noor and Harrity were responding to Damond's 911 call about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home when the officers, according to defense attorneys, were "spooked," according to Harrity, by a loud sound on their squad and a dark figure at Harrity's driver's side window, prompting Noor to fire from inside the vehicle about 11:40 p.m.

 

While Olson said the BCA conducted a "robust" canvass of the neighborhood to investigate what caused Damond to call 911, he acknowledged that the agency did not check other police calls to cross-reference them or check hospitals for possible assault victims.

"Did you find out later that someone did do that work?" Sweasy asked.

"Your investigator," Olson said.

Dunlap previously testified that she was unable to identify what had alarmed Damond.

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