Minneapolis Cop Charged With Murder In Shooting Of Australian Bride-To-Be Justine Damond

Kristen GelineauAP Images

Law enforcement authorities have charged the Minneapolis police officer who allegedly shot and killed Justine Damond on July 15, 2017, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Yoga and meditation instructor Damond, 40, moved to America from Sydney, Australia, and was scheduled to marry a Minneapolis man in August.

Officer Mohamed Noor, 32, turned himself in this morning on an apprehension warrant for the two charges, and he was booked into the Hennepin County Jail subject to $500,000 bail, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. During the pendency of the investigation, Noor declined to give a statement to investigators in the incident that made headlines in this country and in Australia. In advance of the nuptials, Justine Ruszczyk had taken last name of fiance Don Damond.

Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau, who was on vacation at the time of the Damond shooting, resigned shortly thereafter at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Noor was in the passenger seat of a patrol car when he allegedly shot Justine Damond through the driver’s side window of the vehicle, firing past his partner. She had called 911 on the night in question to report a possible sexual assault in an alley behind her home. Damond was shot in the abdomen and tragically died at the scene. Neither officer had their body cams activated until after the shooting.

“A policeman who was with Noor at the time of the shooting, Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was startled by a loud noise right before Damond approached the driver’s side window of their police SUV,” the Guardian explained.

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Noting that it took eight months for authorities to come to a conclusion, the Damond and Ruszczyk families praised the grand jury and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for the diligent investigation, and expressed hope for a conviction after the case goes to trial. Freeman is scheduled to give a press conference today about the case, so please check back for the video.

“There is no evidence that… Officer Noor encountered, appreciated, investigated or confirmed a threat that justified the decision to use deadly force,” the charging document in the Justine Damond case reportedly stated. “Instead, Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat, a location at which he would have been less able than Officer Harrity to see and hear events on the other side of the squad car.”

Upon a conviction of third-degree murder in Minnesota, a defendant could be sentenced to 10-25 years behind bars. A second-degree manslaughter conviction could result in a jail term of four to 10 years in prison.

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“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,” the Guardian added.

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In the video embedded below, watch Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman discuss the Justine Damond shooting case and the charges filed against Officer Mohamed Noor.