Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed woman who called police to report a possible crime.
The officer–who fired one shot that killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40 -year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia–was see not guilty of the most serious charge against him, second-degree murder.
The Hennepin County jury reached their verdict in two days, a quick conclusion after a highly publicized three-week trial to determine whether Noor, 33, was justified in his use of deadly force when he fatally shot Damond behind her home a month before her bridal.
Noor, who was emotionless as the verdict was read Tuesday , now faces life in prison.
At trial, attorneys said Damond called police on July 15, 2017 to report a possible sexual assault after hearing a woman’s scream in the alleyway behind her home.
When police arrived, the yoga educator and life coach-and-four, who had just moved to Minneapolis to live with her soon-to-be husband, approached the squad car on the driver’s side. Noor, sitting in the passenger seat, pulled out his gun and shot Damond in the stomach as she stood outside his partner’s window.
The former officer’s defense attorneys are of the view that Noor only fired his weapon to protect his” terrified partner ,” Matthew Harrity, who said he heard a thumping on their squad car and ensure a figure” raising an arm” by the driver’s side window.
During her closing argument on Monday, attorney Amy Sweasy insisted there was ” no conclusive proof” Damond” ever touched that automobile .”
Noor, who refused to speak to investigators or publicly comment on the incident, took the stand to testify in his own defense last week, arguing that it was his partner’s frightened expression and the surprising sight of a blonde woman raise her limb outside his partner’s window that constructed him jump into action. He said Harrity was having trouble removing his firearm from his holster.
” There was a threat, and my aim was to stop the threat ,” he said last week.” I fired once, and then the threat took a couple steps back .”
Harrity witnessed last week that he’d heard the woman “murmur” as she approached their vehicle.
” I had some weird feeling to my left side that I had to look over ,” Harrity testified, adding that he immediately went for his handgun.” A silhouette of something .”
Under cross-examination, Noore admitted that the Australian native did not seem dangerous.
” If I knew this would happen, I would never have become a cop ,” he said at the end of his testimony.
Thomas Plunkett, Noor’s defense attorney, said in his closing argument on Monday that the incident was ” a tragedy” but” not a crime.”
” Mr. Noor acted as he was developed. He acted as a reasonable police officer ,” he said.
Noor, who was handcuffed and immediately taken into custody after the verdict was announced, will be sentenced on June 7. He is the first police officer in Minnesota to be convicted of an on-duty shooting.
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