Minnesota Jury Deliberates Police Shooting Case
The fate of a Minneapolis police officer, who is charged with shooting and killing an unarmed woman, is now in the hands of a Minnesota jury after lawyers gave closing arguments at his trial.
Mohamed Noor, a Somali American, is charged with killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen, who had called police in 2017 when she heard a possible rape in the alley behind her home and minutes later approached Noor’s police car.
Lawyers for Noor argued Monday that the officer was caught up in a “perfect storm” of events, including hearing a loud bang right before Damond appeared at his partner’s car window, followed by the partner struggling to pull out his gun in response to the noise. They said Noor “acted as he was trained. He acted as a reasonable police officer.”
Prosecutors said, however, that Noor acted unreasonably and should be held responsible for the death. They questioned the claim that he heard a loud noise before Damond approached the squad car, noting that neither Noor or his partner, Matthew Harrity, reported it until days after the shooting.
The shooting sparked outrage in both the United States and Australia and led to Minneapolis’ police chief losing her job.
Noor, 33, became a police officer in 2015, two years before the shooting. His hiring was hailed by Minneapolis leaders who wanted to diversify the police force in a city with a large population of Somali immigrants.
Following the shooting, Noor was fired from his job and charged with two counts of murder and one of count of manslaughter.
The judge told the jury Monday that they need to decide if Noor was justified in using deadly force based only on what he knew when he fired his gun.
The jury is made up of 10 men and two women, with half of the jurors being people of color. Jury members will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.