Who Is Mohamed Noor? New Details On The Minneapolis Police Officer Convicted Of Murder For Shooting Australian Woman

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Who Is Mohamed Noor? New Details On The Minneapolis Police Officer Convicted Of Murder For Shooting Australian Woman

While there are always reports about people of color being shot and killed by police, we rarely see some kind of justice served. In the cases of Philando Castille, Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Jr., Willie McCoy — the list goes on and on, and is never-ending — it’s daunting to the POC community to continually see police brutality and shooting bias, and receive no form of closure.

And while the latest charges against police officer Mohamed Noor are unrelated to the shooting of unarmed black men, it just goes to show how rampant police brutality is in communities all over the country.

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Who is Mohamed Noor? In June 2017, Justine Ruszczyk called 911 to seek help and report an alleged sexual assault in the alley behind her home. As Noor’s police car approached her location, Ruszczyk moved towards the squad car, where Noor fired a gunshot into her abdomen, “fearing for his life” and the life of his partner.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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While Noor’s attorney says that it was a tragedy but not a crime, prosecutors claim Noor didn’t assess the situation properly before drawing his weapon. After all, isn’t drawing your weapon a last resort?

Just yesterday, Noor was found guilty of third-degree murder and could face almost 13 years in jail, and another four for second-degree manslaughter. The jury acquitted him of an additional charge second-degree murder.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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But where is the video of the shooting? According to investigators, there was no video or audio, as Noor and his partner both had their body cameras turned off.

The policy at the time didn’t require officers to use body cameras, and since Ruszczyk’s death, Minneapolis police have changed their policy. Another fallout from her death was the Minneapolis police chief being forced out, and the mayor getting voted out of office.

Ruszczyk was just 40 years old and only weeks away from marrying her fiancé, Don Damond, whose surname she often used.

Damond noted that the Minneapolis Police Department’s motto is “to protect with courage, to serve with compassion,” but questioned “Where were those values that night? She called them because she needed them to protect with courage and serve with compassion. But that night, there was a tragic lack of care and compassion for the sanctity of life.”

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Ruszczyk’s tragic death spread as far as Australia, where she was originally from, and also drew attention among Somali-American residents of Minnesota. Noor is the first officer in Minnesota to be convicted in an on-duty shooting, and his nationality makes this case even more unique.

In court, Noor was heard testifying, “I fired one shot. The threat was gone. She could have had a weapon.” He then went on to describe how he exited the police vehicle to see that Ruszczyk was unarmed. Damond struggled to stand up straight, and Noor and his partner helped her to the ground. The officers performed CPR on her but she was pronounced dead at the scene. “My intent was to stop the threat and save my partner’s life,” he said.

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Sixty witnesses also testified, including Noor’s partner, Matthew Harrity, and use-of-force experts. Harrity took the stand and said he was behind the wheel when Noor shot Ruszczyk. He was “startled” by a noise on the rear driver’s side door, and according to Noor, Harrity had a terrified expression.

Prosecutors argued that feeling startled was much different than “fearing death or great bodily harm.” Two neighbors also testified that they heard a sound that could have been Ruszczyk slapping the car, but none of her fingerprints were found on the vehicle.

After the verdict, Ruszczyk’s family held a press conference.

We hope that this guilty verdict will open the door for more police officers to be held accountable for their actions. And, in the same right, get justice for all the unarmed people of color who face this kind of unwarranted violence on a daily basis.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.