Rare conviction of USA officer in Australian's shooting spurs race concerns

Rare conviction of USA officer in Australian's shooting spurs race concerns

According to The Star Tribune, Tuesday, a jury took only 11 hours to find Noor, 33, guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, 40, a white Australian woman who was engaged to a USA citizen and held dual citizenship.

Mohamed Noor walks into the courthouse on the first day of opening arguments of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, charged in the 2017 fatal shooting of 40-year-old Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 9, 2019.

"Justine was killed by a police officer, an agent of the state", he said.

Noor and his partner responded to the call and as the pair pulled into an alley behind Damond's home, she went out and approached them in her pajamas to talk, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

The jury of 10 men and two women got the case Monday afternoon after three weeks of testimony.

Noor said his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, shouted "Oh Jesus!" and fumbled with his gun in its holster before "he turned to me with fear in his eyes".


Neither officer had a body camera running when Ms Damond Ruszczyk was shot, which Mr Harrity blamed on what he called a vague policy that did not require it.

Prosecutors questioned whether the bang happened and attacked Noor for not seeing a weapon or Damond's hands before he fired. Noor testified that a loud bang on the squad vehicle scared his partner and that he saw a woman raising her arm appear at his partner's window.

Tim Walz says he's asking for all "evidence and background" on the case from state investigators.

Noor was taken into custody after being convicted and Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance denied the defense's request to allow him to stay out on bond.

He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of second degree murder.

Mohamed Noor arriving in court to hear the jury's verdict.


"This was indeed a sad and tragic incident that has affected family, friends, neighbors, the City of Minneapolis and people around the world, most significantly in her home country of Australia", Arradondo said.

Noor was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after his split-second decision to raise his gun and fatally shoot an unarmed 911 caller. His hiring was celebrated by city leaders eager to diversify the police force in a city rich in immigrants.

The Damond family have filed a civil lawsuit against the city and several police officers seeking $50m (£38m) in damages. And the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said it had concerns about Noor's safety if he was free.

Sweasy repeatedly pointed out that Noor never said he had saved his partner's life when discussing the shooting with other officers, something she said he surely would have mentioned given his claims that he feared for his life.

Some activists argue that in charging Noor, who's Somali, prosecutors are scapegoating him. They are sequestered until reaching a verdict.


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