There are no marches in Minneapolis this week, no Black Lives Matter protests, no anti-cop diatribes from loud reverends.
But what happened last weekend in the city was in many ways custom made for round-the-clock outrage. An unarmed woman, clad in pajamas and not threatening in any way, was inexplicably shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
Why the lack of indignation?
Because this shooting does not fit the standard narrative favored by the cop-haters.
The victim, 40-year-old Justine Damond, was a white woman born in Australia. She was a meditation and yoga instructor, engaged to be married to an American man next month. When she heard suspicious sounds coming from the alley behind her home, she called 911, like any responsible person would do.
Two cops arrived in a squad car and one of them shot her to death.
But it’s the killer’s identity and background that really blows the familiar storyline. Officer Mohamed Noor is a 31-year-old Muslim who was born in Somalia.
This is not the kind of guy Black Lives Matter has in mind when it denounces trigger-happy cops.
It’s worth noting that Minneapolis is particularly troubled when it comes to Somalis. There are an estimated 25,000 immigrants from Somalia in the city, more than any other place in America. Assimilation has been rocky, and more than a few Somalis have even gone abroad to fight for ISIS.
Just two days prior to being elected President of the United States, Donald Trump said this at a Minnesota rally:
“You’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge.”
In response, ultra-liberal city leaders have gone out of their way to tamp down any fears, to proclaim the city’s inclusiveness, and to celebrate Somali success stories.
Ironically, one of those stories was Officer Noor himself, who joined the force less than two years ago.
Mayor Betsy Hodges went out of her way to praise the officer when he received his badge: “I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor,” she wrote, “the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department.”
She didn’t single out other newly-minted officers, but Noor’s ethnicity and religion were more important than his qualifications.
That was perhaps understandable in a city where there are few Somalis on the force, but it’s also very possible that the mayor’s praise put undue pressure on Officer Noor. Even before the fatal shooting, several complaints had been lodged against him, including one in which he was sued for allegedly assaulting a woman. During last week’s fatal shooting, Officer Noor disregarded policy by failing to activate his body camera.
All this is not to say that Mohamed Noor is not an upstanding citizen. He graduated from college with a business degree and worked for a time in real estate. According to divorce papers, he is a doting and gentle father. But, putting all that aside, maybe he was simply not cut out to be a police officer, which requires far more than just being a good guy. Cops routinely face lethal danger and have to make instant decisions that could change – or end – a human life.
No one yet knows the details of Mohamed Noor’s recruitment, qualifications, or training, but it is not unreasonable to assume that Mayor Hodges and other city officials were downright desperate to find and hire Somali police officers. This could easily be a case of affirmative action gone tragically awry.
The reaction in Australia has been far more vocal than here in the states, where many news outlets have either ignored the story or failed to mention Moor’s name or religion. An Australian newspaper wrote this: “Somali-born policeman Mohamed Noor was not living up to his billing as a poster boy for the troubled Minneapolis police force.”
Yes, Noor was indeed a poster boy for diversity and inclusion and all those comforting buzzwords, but was he a good cop? It’s a question that can be asked down under, but seems to be taboo here in the USA.
When the Washington Post covered this story, the reporter’s entirely predictable theme was that Somalis in Minnesota are “bracing for a backlash.” You know, the same “backlash” that never seems to materialize after Islamic-inspired terror incidents.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press published a glowing profile of Officer Noor, the kind of profile not usually written when white cops use deadly force.
This case is still unfolding, there remain more questions than answers, and we may eventually find out that initial reports were wrong. Officer Noor has thus far refused to talk to investigators and cannot be forced to do so. We will learn more when and if he breaks his silence.
Meanwhile, Justine Damond’s family and friends in Sydney are devastated, calling this their “worst nightmare.” Her American fiancée and her prospective step-son are absolutely shattered.
And Black Lives Matter, Al Sharpton, Antifa, and the rest of the usual suspects? They are quiet. Very, very quiet. Which speaks volumes.