Minneapolis officer arrested, charged in shooting death of Australian woman

Nellie Chapman
March 21, 2018

A Minnesota cop is under arrest in connection with the shooting death of an Australian woman.

The third-degree murder charge accused Noor of committing an "eminently unsafe act" and showing a "depraved mind", and the second-degree manslaughter charge cited "culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk", the records showed.

Mohamed Noor shot 40-year-old Justine Damond Ruszczyk, who lived in the city of Minneapolis, after she called police to report a possible sexual assault in her neighbourhood and approached the police vehicle that had arrived to investigate.

The shooting led to the firing of Police Chief Janee Harteau.

The police officers did not have their body cameras turned on at the moment of the shooting. A judge could issue a sentence ranging from about 10 1/2 to 15 years. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that", the statement said.

At 11:35 p.m., Damond called 911 again and said no one had arrived and she was concerned they got the address wrong.

In detailing the charges against Noor, Freeman emphasized the extensive training the officer and his partner received in handling high-stress situations and making life and death decisions.

Officer Harrity and Noor pulled up in the alley, did not see anything and Noor typed into their auto computer "code four", meaning no assistance was needed, the prosecutor said.

In a statement, Noor's attorney said his client should not have been charged with any crime.

The second-degree manslaughter charge alleges he acted with "culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk".

"We can no longer fool ourselves that this only happens to people in underprivileged communities.it can happen again to any of us", she said.

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He was booked into Hennepin County jail with bail set at $US500,000, and he is expected to make his first appearance in a Minneapolis court on Wednesday.

The officers turned on their body-worn cameras after getting out of the auto.

- Less than one minute before firing the fatal shot Officer Mohamed Noor was sitting in the front passenger seat of the squad auto and typed into the vehicle's computer "Code 4". Harrity, who was driving, said Noor then fired his weapon from the passenger seat and through the open window, shooting Damond. They said they are pleased that the investigation appeared diligent and thorough, and they hope for a conviction.

While Officer Harrity cooperated with BCA investigators in the wake of Damond's death, Noor refused to share his side of the story and was not compelled to by law.

Noor, a 32-year-old Somali-American, has not talked publicly about the case and declined to be interviewed by state investigators. She put her hands on the gunshot wound and said "I'm dead" and "I'm dying".

Noor has a degree in economics and business administration from Augsburg College.

Ms Harteau's replacement, Medaria Arradondo, quickly announced a policy change requiring officers to turn on their body cameras in responding to any call or traffic stop.

Mr Harrity began CPR on Ms Damond, with Noor taking over afterward.

Police union chief Bob Kroll said at the time that more than 30 officers had been subpoenaed. Prior to his hiring, he completed training the Minneapolis Police Department Academy, which includes training in "numerous scenarios meant to teach them to identify a target and its threat".

Civil rights attorney and community activist Nekima Levy-Pounds referred to the charging decision as "bittersweet".

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