tiptrot.com May 27, 2018

USA police officer charged with murder of Australian woman

22 March 2018, 01:08 | Bernice Figueroa

Mohamed Noor the Minneapolis police officer charged over the fatal shooting of Justice Damond

Mohamed Noor the Minneapolis police officer charged over the fatal shooting of Justice Damond

Mohamed Noor, 32, who has been charged in the fatal shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July last year, did not enter a plea on the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges when he appeared in court in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Officer Mohamed Noor was charged Tuesday in the July shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

The complaint says that there is no evidence Noor justified his decision to use deadly force, and instead he recklessly fired his handgun.

"A person sitting in a passenger seat of a squad auto takes a gun, hears a noise, maybe sees some object", Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said during a press conference Tuesday about the charges, according to the Star Tribune.

Noor turned himself in and his bail was set at $500,000.

The shooting caused outrage in the United States and in Damond's native Australia.

Noor allegedly said that an unidentified figure ran from the dark and straight towards his vehicle. She pointed to the shootings of young black men by white police officers. While many officers came forward, and Chief Medaria Arradondo was first to cooperate in the investigation, others did not, saying they were acting on the advice of the police union, he said.

Don Damond, her fiance, said the two had planned to marry later that summer. "I know that these three words will not bring Justine back, but I want you to know that I am deeply saddened and truly sorry for her death and for your tragic loss", Arradondo said. "Noor was sitting, where he was less able than Officer Harrity to see and hear events on the other side of the squad auto".

"He saw Officer Noor's right hand extend across him toward Officer Harrity's open window", Mr Freeman said.

Former Minneapolis police chief JaneƩ Harteau wrote via Twitter, "Justine Damond's family deserves answers and they deserve justice".

"We are relieved that her killer is being prosecuted and we hope for a swift trial that is respectful to Justine and her loved ones", said Todd Schuman, a member of the activist group Justice for Justine, told the group that had gathered.

But prosecutor Amy Sweasy said Mr Noor no longer had a job that would keep him in Minnesota. In response to the murder charge, his lawyer Tom Plunkett argued that prosecutor Freeman had jumped to conclusions on the case.

Noor has not spoken publicly about the case and has been on paid leave since the shooting. He pledged to strengthen efforts to rebuild the trust between the department and the public and pointed to officer de-escalation training and body camera policies as a priority.

At the time of the incident, neither Mr Noor or another officer present, Matthew Harrity, had their body-worn cameras activated. Recent reports show the department is not yet in full compliance. He noted that due to the lack of cooperation by some police officers to report what they saw and did in relation to the shooting, "It left us no other choice than to use the investigative powers of the grand jury".

Justine's family in Australia and the US applaud today's decision to criminally charge Officer Noor with Justine's murder as one step toward justice for this iniquitous act. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that", it said.

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