Minneapolis Cop Who Fatally Shot Woman Gets off Light
“The former Minneapolis Police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman while responding to her 911 call in 2017,” CNN reports, “was released from prison Monday after serving over three years behind bars.” The officer, Mohammed Noor, was convicted of third-degree murder in April 2019. His release last month came just 18 days from the fifth anniversary of his crime.
As we noted, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of Australia and the United States, heard a woman being assaulted and called 911. When Minneapolis police arrived, Damond approached their car, and officer Noor shot her dead. The 40-year-old woman was to be married within a month.
Noor claimed he fired to protect the life of his partner, Matthew Harrity. Three days after the shooting, Harrity claimed he heard a loud bang on the squad car. None of the forensic evidence showed that the victim had even touched the car.
“The use of force was objectionable, unreasonable, and violated police policies and training,” expert witness Derrick Hacker testified during the trial in April 2019. “No reasonable officer would have perceived a threat by somebody coming up to their squad.”
Another expert witness, Timothy Longo, who, like Hacker, has a law-enforcement background, told the court that a string of bad decisions led to the shooting. “I don’t believe they were logical or rational at all,” Longo explained. “This was an unprovoked, violent response.”
The officers had turned off their body cameras and unholstered their firearms. They also failed to telephone Damond, who had called 911 a second time to check on their arrival. She “did nothing wrong,” Hacker told the court. “Police are approached daily, this happens routinely.”
A Minneapolis jury found Noor guilty of third-degree murder, and the initial sentence was 12 and a half years in prison. Last year, Minnesota’s supreme court vacated the murder conviction and resentenced Noor to four years and nine months on a manslaughter charge, with 30 months credit for time served. By contrast, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, convicted for causing the death of George Floyd, was fired one day after the incident and drew a sentence of more than 20 years.
Noor’s sentence is far too lenient, and the case raises serious questions about his qualifications to be a police officer. If any police force ever rehires the on-duty shooter, that would take injustice to a whole new level.