Somali Muslim police officer, Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed an unarmed Australian woman, Justine Damond, minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home was charged today with murder and manslaughter. Noor, who has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, was fired today.
ABC7 Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old life coach, on July 15. Damond’s death drew international attention, cost the police chief her job and forced major revisions to the department’s policy on body cameras.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the law makes it difficult to charge police officers unless they are “unacceptably reckless.” He said, “I agree with that.” But he added: “Clearly Officer Noor violated the rules and deserves to be charged.”
Noor is charged with third-degree murder “for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act” and second-degree manslaughter for “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.”
If convicted of third-degree murder, Noor could face a maximum of 25 years in prison, though the presumptive sentence is 12 ½ years. A judge could issue a sentence ranging from about 10 ½ to 15 years. The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but the presumptive sentence is four years. Bail was set at $500,000.
Noor, a 32-year-old Somali-Muslim, has not talked publicly about the case and declined to be interviewed by state investigators. His attorney, Thomas Plunkett, confirmed Noor turned himself in, but had no other immediate comment.
In a statement, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo doesn’t specifically say Noor was terminated, but he that Noor’s “end date” was Tuesday. Arradondo said he had delayed making an employment decision at the request of prosecutors so it wouldn’t interfere with the criminal investigation.
Damond’s father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiance, Don Damond, issued a joint statement on behalf of both families, saying they applauded the decision to charge Noor “as one step toward justice for this iniquitous act.”
“No charges can bring our Justine back. 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.