Minneapolis officer charged in shooting of Australian woman

MINNEAPOLIS – A U.s. police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Australian woman who in July, was booked into the jail Tuesday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Officer Mohamed Noor is in the Tuesday after an arrest warrant was issued for his arrest. He shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old coach, on July 15 minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house. Damond’s death drew international attention, the cost to the police of her job and forced major revisions of the department’s policy of body cameras.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman scheduled a Tuesday afternoon press conference to discuss the costs. The indictment remained sealed by the afternoon of Tuesday, but according to the jail roster Noor was booked on a third-degree murder charges for committing a very dangerous act, while showing a “depraved mind.” The second degree murder charges claiming he acted with “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.”

If convicted of third degree murder, he could face a maximum of 25 years in prison, although the obvious sense is 12 ½ years. A judge would give a sentence, ranging from about 10 ½ to 15 years.

The second degree murder charges carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison, but the presumptive sentence is four years.

The prison set bail-in of $500,000, according to jail records.

Noor has not spoken publicly about the case and refused to answer questions from the researchers. His attorney, Thomas Plunkett, confirmed Noor in, but had no other immediate comment.

Damond’s father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiancé, Don Damond, in a joint statement on behalf of both families, say they welcomed the decision to charge the Noor “as a step in the direction of justice for this unjust law.” They said that they are pleased that the study appeared carefully and thoroughly, and they hope for a conviction.

“No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for the reckless killing of the citizens they are sworn to protect, and the current actions reflect that,” the statement said.

A policeman who was with Norwegian on the time of the shooting, Matthew Harrity, told the researchers that he was startled by a loud sound right for Damond approached the driver’s side window of their police SUV. Harrity, who was driving, said Noor then fired his weapon from the passenger seat. Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The officers not turn their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no squad camera video of the incident.

The lack of video was widely criticized, and Damond family members were among the many people who have the name for changes in the procedure, including how often officers are required to turn on their cameras.

The shooting also prompted questions about the training of the Noor, a two-year-old veteran and Somali-American whose arrival to power was celebrated by city leaders, and Minnesota’s large Somali community. Noor, 32, had trained in business and economics and worked in property management before becoming an officer.

Then-Chief Janee Harteau defended Noor the training and said that he was fit to be on the street, even if they are criticism on the shooting itself. But Harteau — who was on vacation when the shooting happened and not her first public appearance for several days after the shooting was forced out soon after by Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said she had lost confidence in the director.

Harteau replacement, Medaria Arradondo, quickly announced a change of policy whereby the officers turn on their body cameras that respond to a call or traffic stop. Recent reports indicate the department is not yet in full compliance.

Damond’s shooting was the third high-profile police shooting in Minnesota in recent years in which a prosecutor made the charging decision instead of relying on a grand jury, a process criticized for the secrecy and for the rarity of the officers in charge. But in this case, Freeman, convened a grand jury to investigate, about a month after he publicly stated that he does not have enough evidence. He claimed that the decision to charge would be.

In December , Freeman was captured on video at a holiday reception to complain that the researchers had not given him enough information to warrant charging the officer. Freeman apologized a few days later, saying that he should not have discussed the case in detail in a public setting. About a month later, dozens of agents were given a subpoena to testify before the grand jury.


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