Mohamed Noor, center, accompanied by his legal team, Peter Wold and Tom Plunkett, to argue pretrial motions on a possible cause hearing for the ex-Minneapolis police officer Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 in the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP)
MINNEAPOLIS – prosecutors may make use of a former American police officer psychological records against him when he goes on trial next year fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman who called 911, a judge ruled Thursday.
Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance set a trial date of April 1 after finding that there is probable cause for the criminal case against Mohamed Noor. He was charged in March with third-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond
Damond, a 40-year-old life coach and dual citizen, who was engaged to be married, called 911 the night of 15 July 2017, with reporting of possible sexual abuse in the alley behind her house. Noor was in the passenger seat of a squad car when he reached his partner and fired at Damond by the driver window after they ran into them in the darkness.
Norwegian has denied to speak with the researchers. But his partner, Matthew Harrity, said that she was “scared” when she approached. Harrity said he heard a voice and a thud on the back of the team, and a glimpse of a head and shoulders to the outside. Harrity said that he feared for his life and pulled his gun. Noor, however, fired on Damond, who died on the scene.
Noor’s lawyers claim that he acted reasonably because he feared that he was in danger. But Quaintance ruled during the briefing to hear that a jury could conclude from the evidence that Noor’s actions that evening met the legal review of both charges.
The judge refused to suppress the Noor of the psychological data , that the local police station collected during the application process. They found that they are not subject to the physician-patient privilege of confidentiality.
According to the court filings, the data show that the training of officers expressed concerns about Noor’s fitness for duty long before the shooting. The trainers said that he had problems handling stress at work and dealing with people. And a psychological evaluation showed he was more than probably any other officer candidates to be impatient with others about minor violations and have difficulty getting along with others. Nevertheless, he was deemed fit to work as a cadet officer.
Noor’s lawyers countered that prosecutors painted a distorted picture of the records. They said in their records that the training of officers never found Noor to be “unacceptable” on a task, and that a psychological test that he took was racially biased. Noor is a Somali-American. She said that his results were probably a consequence of his race and culture, not a personality disorder.
Quaintance also rejected a defense motion to dismiss, has more than comments from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman that the defense said danger Noor’s right to a fair trial, although she advised both sides to be careful.
“We are committed to providing a fair and just process,” Quaintance said. “The issues will be tried in a court of law and not the media.”
Noor declined to comment to reporters afterward. Although he was never asked to formally enter a plea, which was issued by the court a date for the process. He remains free on $400,000 bail.