Fiance Of Justine Damond, Shot Dead By US Police Officer, Pleads For More Information

The family and friends of Australian woman Justine Damond - who was shot and killed by a US police officer on July 15 - have opened up about her death.

Speaking to ABC's Australian Story, friends say 40-year-old Justine spent the morning in her Minneapolis, Minnesota, home excitedly admiring the bridesmaids dresses she had ordered for the wedding to her US fiancé that was just weeks away.

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"In true Justine form, she'd decided to order 10 different ones for two bridesmaids to arrive at her house [that day]," friend Jen Hearn told ABC.

Justine had moved from her home on Sydney's Northern Beaches to the United States after meeting and falling in love with Don Damond.

Justine's father, John Ruszczyk, said he initially hoped Don would move to Sydney to be with his daughter.

An American English teacher, John had resettled his family in Australia after noticing uncomfortable changes in US society in the '70s.

"I was beginning to question some of the things that were happening in America," he said.

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"There was lots of conflict on the streets, demonstrations at universities around the country where there was violence, things were disruptive.

"I was looking for a different kind of social environment and Australia appealed to me."

The same night Justine was busy planning her wedding, John's worst fears were realised: with her fiancé Don Damond out of state on business, and his teen son Zach also away, Justine became nervous when she heard what sounded like a woman being sexually assaulted near her home.

After phoning Don, the couple agreed she should call 911.

"I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped... but I don't think she's enjoying it," she told the 911 operator.

She phoned the police again at 11:35pm, and when she heard a police car pulling up near her house just before midnight, she decided to go outside and approach the officers to help.

She was wearing her pyjamas and was at "the peak of a wave" when she was shot and killed by one of the officers.

"I can only suppose that she came out of the house and realising that the police car had gone past the site of the incident, she walked up to the police car," Justine's father John Ruszczyk told Australian Story.

"And for some unknown reason, a man shot and killed her.

"She did what any Aussie woman would do — go to the police because you know it's safe and they're going to get to the bottom of it. In this case, it was the wrong decision."

Her fiancé Don said he was relieved when Justine called to tell him she could hear the police arriving.

"When she said, 'The police are here', I felt like all is well, like the knights in shining armour have arrived," he said.

"I'll never feel that way again."

Now her family are pushing for a the police officer responsible for her death - rookie officer Mohamed Noor - to be convicted.

Officer Noor has so far declined to speak to investigators or publicly about the incident.

Don Damond hopes a conviction would lead to the complete overhaul of the US policing system - since 2000, 162 people have died in encounters with the Minnesota police alone.

"We feel like true justice for Justine isn't one police officer being convicted, we feel like true justice for Justine is a systemic change in policing."

You can watch the full episode of Australian Story featuring Justine Damond here.

2. A toddler in Western Australia has died after contracting the W strain of meningococcal disease.

baby getting vaccine vaccination
Image via Getty.

A young child in Western Australia is dead after contracting a virulent strain of meningococcal disease and another is also infected, AAP reports.

The two children, both aged under three, had contracted the serogroup W infection and one had since died, the state's health department said on Monday.

An adult from interstate was also infected with another strain of the bacteria.

"There have now been four deaths from meningococcal disease in WA in 2017, all infected with the serogroup W type of the organism," a health department statement said.

So far this year there have been 38 cases of the potentially deadly disease, up from 23 in 2016.

"The numbers of serogroup W and Y cases are well above the long term average of less than one case per year of each of these types," the department said.

The children and adult are the latest cases of the disease in WA but none of the individuals are linked.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease, click here.

3. Scientists say your mid-week stir fry could actually be bad for your health.

stir fry dinner meal
Image via Getty.

It's the mid-week meal that's become a staple for many families around Australia, but scientists warn cooking up a stir fry could actually be bad for your health.

Scientists say the method of cooking "shoots microscopic particles of fat into the air", The Sydney Morning Herald reports, which could be hazardous for health.

Researchers at Texas Tech University and Utah State University heated oil in a frying pan, and then added droplets of water. The results were "dramatic", with water causing fat to explode and send inhalable droplets of oil into the air.

The results were worse when foods such as chicken were added to a stir fry, as poultry and vegetables both contain large quantities of water.

"It's known that millions of deaths worldwide occur due to indoor air pollution, but we don't know yet how much cooking in poorly ventilated kitchens contributes to it," researcher Jeremy Marston, assistant professor at Texas Tech University, said.

"We're planning to conduct a detailed study to quantify how much impact kitchen-based aerosols have on indoor air pollution."

4. Coles supermarkets are rolling out a 'quiet hour' for shoppers with autism.

Image via 9News.

One of Australia's largest supermarket chains, Coles, will today expand its 'quiet hour' to help shoppers with autism after a successful pilot program, 9 News reports.

For one hour every Tuesday, between 10:30am and 11:30am, 68 Coles supermarkets across the country will dim the lights, switch music off, suspend trolley collections and tone down register sounds so customers on the autism spectrum can shop "in peace".

Announcements over the store PA system will also be suspended for the hour, except in cases of emergency.

Staff have been given extra training to ensure the low sensory Quiet Hour runs smoothly.

"At Coles, we are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable," Coles Accessibility Sponsor Peter Sheean said in an official statement.

A full list of the stores participating in the Quiet Hour each week can be found here.

5. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has teased the possibility of tax cuts for middle-income earners.

Malcolm Turnbull dangles middle-income tax cut during Business Council of Australia speech #auspol https://t.co/B7bOcwXOCK pic.twitter.com/yDni9uI4Dl

— ABC News (@abcnews) November 20, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull has raised the prospect of income tax cuts for middle-income earners as he tries to push beyond the political headaches plaguing his government, AAP reports.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer Scott Morrison have also taken the unusual step of urging business chiefs to do more in support of their plan to slash company taxes.

Mr Turnbull primarily used a keynote address to the Business Council of Australia on Monday night to prosecute the case for cutting corporate rates.

However, he spoke also of the need to increase the disposable incomes of Australian workers, highlighting recent efforts to reshuffle tax thresholds and scrap the deficit levy on big earners.

"In the personal income space, I am actively working with the treasurer and my cabinet colleagues to ease the burden on middle-income Australians, while also meeting our commitment to return the budget to surplus," he said.

On the latter point, the Turnbull Government has fallen out of favour with some sectors of the business community over its decisions in recent months.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged the major bank levy contained in this year's budget "brought us no joy" but argued it was necessary to repair federal finances.

The government has so far legislated a tax cut for businesses with turnovers of up to $50 million, leaving the remainder on a rate of 30 per cent.

6. An urgent recall of a popular vodka drink has been issued after it was found to trigger "severe allergies".

Food recall - Vodka Cruiser Sunny Orange Passionfruit 275mL, which are sold in mixed 10 packs, are being recalled across Australia. This product contains an added colour (102) which is not declared on the label. https://t.co/Npqe8TCfI0 pic.twitter.com/TyXt82zNEf

— FoodStandardsAusNZ (@FSANZnews) November 17, 2017

An urgent recall has been issued for a popular alcoholic drink after they were found to contain an added colour that was not specified on the label.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said Vodka Cruiser Sunny Orange Passionfruit 275ml, sold in mixed 10 packs, said the added colouring - Colour 102 - could cause reactions in consumers who have an allergy or intolerance to tartrazine.

The drink was sold in major retailers and independent liquor outlets across Australia, and customers are urged to return their cartons to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Affected products were packed from 9/10/2017 to 13/11/2017 and promotional packs that were packed between 27/09/2017 and 30/10/2017.

Those who do not have an allergy or intolerance to Colour 102 are advised the product is safe for them to consume.

Source : https://www.mamamia.com.au/justine-damond-australian-story/

News in 5: Justine Damond’s final days; ‘Quiet hour’ for shoppers with autism; PM teases tax cuts.
News in 5: Justine Damond's final days; 'Quiet hour' introduced for shoppers with autism; PM teases tax cuts.
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