MINNEAPOLIS – attorneys for the Defense wants the charges dismissed against a former Us police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman last year.
Lawyers of the ex-officer Mohamed Noor have argued in motions filed Wednesday that the charges should be dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct and lack of probable cause.
Noor is charged with third degree murder and second-degree murder in the July 15, 2017, after the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old coach, who was engaged to be married. She was killed after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault.
Prosecutors say Noor was in a patrol car from the passenger seat, when he shot Damond by the window after she approached the vehicle. Noor’s lawyers claim to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s statements about the case “have undermined Officer Noor fundamental right to a fair trial.”
“The Hennepin County Lawyer of the statements in this case are irresponsible, inexcusable and rise to a level of professional misconduct that cheats the citizens of a fair trial,” they wrote in their pieces.
A spokesman for Freeman’s office declined comment Wednesday. A hearing on the motions is scheduled for Sept. 27.
The defense points out that Freeman told a group of activists in a recorded conversation in December, before Noor was brought, that he does not have enough evidence yet, researchers “haven’t done their job” and having enough evidence to charge decision would be “the big present I’d like to see under the christmas tree.”
“His comments are not only racially and culturally insensitive — they are full of hate. They laugh a fair trial. They refuse a fair trial,” the attorneys argue.
The advent of the 32-year-old Noor, a Somali-American, was celebrated by city leaders, and Minnesota’s large Somali community. He’s now been fired.
Noor’s lawyers have also argued that the third-degree murder charges do not meet the “depraved mind” standard under Minnesota law.
Noor, the partner of the night of the shooting, Director Matthew Harrity, ” he said and Noor “spooked” when Damond approached their sport utility vehicle, and that Harrity feared for his life.
Harrity, who was driving, said he heard a voice and a thud on the back of the squad SUV, and a glimpse of a person with head and shoulders outside his window. Noor fired through the open driver’s side window, fatally shooting Damond in the abdomen.
The plaintiffs claim Noor acted recklessly and was not justified in use of deadly force. But the defence is of the opinion Noor actions “were the product of a fraction of a second reaction.”
“Officer of Noor’s actions to defend his partner and himself in the context of the night is not a proof of the perverse spirit envisioned by the court of the last hundred years,” the defense filings say.