Minneapolis Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Australian Woman In July
2017 To Turn Himself In After Warrant Issued For Arrest
The Minneapolis police officer who fatally
shot an Australian woman in July was charged with murder Tuesday after
he turned himself in when a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in on Tuesday in connection to the
2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. his attorney confirmed.
The criminal complaint remained sealed by
midday Tuesday, but according to the jail roster Noor was booked on a
third-degree murder charge for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act
while showing a "depraved mind." The second-degree manslaughter charge
alleges he acted with "culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk."
Damond was shot July 15, minutes after calling 911 to report a possible
sexual assault in the alley behind her home. The 40-year-old life
coach’s death drew international attention, cost the police chief her
job and forced major revisions to the department’s policy on body
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was scheduled to discuss charges
Noor, a 32-year-old Somali-American, has not talked publicly about the
case and declined to be interviewed by state investigators.
In a statement Tuesday, Damond's family praised the charges, calling
them "one step toward justice."
"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.
A policeman who was with Noor at the time of the shooting, Matthew
Harrity, told investigators that he was startled by a loud noise right
before 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 did not turn on 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's family members
were among the many people who called for changes in procedure,
including how often officers are required to turn on their cameras.
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. Noor,
32, had trained in business and economics and worked in property
management before becoming an officer.
Then-Chief Janee Harteau defended Noor's training and said he was suited
to be on the street, even as she criticized the shooting itself. But
Harteau — who was on vacation when the shooting happened and didn't make
her first public appearance until several days after the shooting — was
forced out soon after by Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said she had lost
confidence in the chief.
Harteau's replacement, Medaria Arradondo, quickly announced a policy
change requiring officers to turn on their body cameras in responding to
any call or traffic stop.
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.
Jail records show he’s being held on $500,000 bail.