Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor charged over Justine Damond's death

Justine Damond left and Mohamed Noor Justine Damond left and Mohamed Noor
Faye Gross | 22 March, 2018, 01:08

Damond, an Australian vet and yoga instructor living in the United States with fiancé Don Damond, was shot dead on the evening of July 15 after reporting a disturbance behind her home.

"As Chief, I am committed to ensuring that myself, and every member of the MPD, learn from this tragedy", he said in a statement.

He said Noor "violated the rules, and deserves to be charged" in Damond's death and that Noor abused his authority to use deadly force.

Conviction of third-degree murder carries a presumptive sentence of 12 and a half years and a maximum sentence of 25 years, while the second-degree murder charge carries a presumptive sentence of four years and a maximum sentence of 10 years. Bail is set at $500,000 without conditions. He had been on administrative leave since the shooting and was terminated on Tuesday.

The prosecutor said his eight-month investigation had constructed a detailed account of the events - laid out in a charging document filed in state court.

Though welcome and important, these charges cannot bring back Justine Damond nor can they alone mend the fractured relationship between police and communities. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that", the statement said as quoted by the Associated Press.

The police officers did not have their body cameras turned on at the moment of the shooting. He said "we both got spooked" and that he had his gun out. Charges say Noor fired recklessly "in disregard for human life".

Hussain added that he hoped the charges were based on the "heinousness of the crime" and not on officer Mohamed Noor's ethnicity.

Noor and his fellow officer Matthew Harrity arrived at the scene and were sitting in their police auto when Damond approached them. Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

When Ms Damond Ruszczyk came up to Mr Harrity's window, he did not shoot.

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After entering a "Code 4" to indicate they were safe and needed no assistance the officers heard a "slapping" sound against the police vehicle in the moments before Noor shot Damond through the driver's side window from the passenger seat.

According to the warrant, Officer Harrity told investigators that he heard a noise that startled him and Officer Noor.

The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no video of the incident from the police auto.

Ms Damond's family is pleased justice may be served.

The shooting also prompted questions about the training of Noor, a two-year veteran and Somali-American whose arrival on the force had been celebrated by city leaders and Minnesota's large Somali community.

A supporter of Police Officer Mohamed Noor says he was "just doing what he was trained to do" and is being treated unfairly. The incident led to the resignation of Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau previous year.

Neighbours, friends and activists held a vigil for the Australian woman overnight after the police officer was charged in her death.

They had turned the squad car's headlights off and driven slowly through the alley, using a spotlight to search for any suspicious activity.

The facts will show that Office Noor acted as he has trained and consistent with established department policy. She pointed to the shootings of young black men by white police officers.

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