The Minneapolis Police Department’s first Somali-American police officer assigned to Southwest Minneapolis’s Fifth Precinct, Mohamed Noor, has been found guilty of third-degree murder for shooting 40-year-old Australian yoga teacher Justine Damond Ruszczyk after she called police to report a possible crime.
Noor made history again on Tuesday by becoming “the first former Minnesota police officer found guilty of an on-duty murder,” according to the Star Tribune.
From the Star Tribune:
Mohamed Noor became the first former Minnesota police officer found guilty of an on-duty murder Tuesday as a Hennepin County jury convicted him for the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.
Jurors reached their verdict after about 10 hours of sequestered deliberations in a case that was closely watched nationwide and in Damond’s native Australia. They convicted Noor of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but acquitted him of the most serious count — second-degree murder.
Noor, 33, sat expressionless with his hands clasped in front of him as the verdict was read in court just before 5 p.m. One juror hung his head while others sat calmly.
Noor stood from his attorneys’ table, was handcuffed and taken into custody after jurors were dismissed, leaving without looking at his family in the gallery, his shackled wrists brushing against the back of his dark-colored suit. He will remain in custody until his sentencing, scheduled for June 7.
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Testifying for the prosecution, Lt. Derrick Hacker of the Crystal Police Department in Minnesota said that Noor’s use of deadly force was “excessive and objectively unreasonable.”
Being “startled” is different than “fearing death or great bodily harm,” Hacker said.
Testifying for the defense, lawyer and use of force expert Emanuel Kapelsohn said Noor’s conduct was an “objectively reasonable” response to the situation.
“It’s late at night. It’s dark in the alley,” Kapelsohn said, noting Noor heard his partner say “oh Jesus.”
WND reported in 2017 that Noor was a “diversity hire” who was hired not because of his qualifications but because of a “city affirmative-action program” which aims to “promote equal employment opportunities for women, minorities and disabled persons.”