Court overturns murder sentence of former Minneapolis officer in 2017 shooting

Court overturns murder sentence of former Minneapolis officer in 2017 shooting

Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who killed a woman in 2017 who called for help at her home, was struck down Wednesday by the Minnesota Supreme Court for his third-degree murder sentence, a A sudden turnaround in the case that attracted international attention .

Mr Noor, who is currently serving a 12-and-a-half year prison sentence for the murder of Justin Ruszczyk, will be outraged on a less serious count of second-degree murder.

Mr Noor’s conviction, in an on-duty fatal shooting for the first time in decades for a Minnesota officer, was held at the time as a rare instance of a police officer being punished for a serious crime committed in the line of duty. it was done. . The decision to overturn it was seen as a setback for activists who insisted on significant changes in policing and underscored the difficulties of prosecuting and convicting police officers for on-duty shootings.

The 28-page opinion by Minnesota’s Supreme Court focused on the details of the “perverted-minded” murder statute to which Mr. Noor was convicted, and whether his actions might fit the definition of a crime if he was convicted of one of the crimes. was targeting the individual. The jurors acquitted Mr. Noor of the more serious second-degree murder charge. Murder of the second degree, a conviction for which Mr. Noor will be offended, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, or with fine.

The Supreme Court judges wrote in their opinion, “We can very well agree that Noor’s decision to fire a deadly weapon simply because he was shocked, was unfair and unjustified.” “What is particularly disturbing is Noor’s conduct, the belief that civilians should be able to place among our peace officers. But the tragic circumstances of the case do not change the fact that Noor’s conduct was directed specifically towards Ruszczyk.”

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Ms. Ruszczyk, 40, a yoga instructor who had spent most of her life in Australia, called 911 twice on one summer night four years ago and asked for help at her home in the southwest Minneapolis neighborhood. She had reported hearing a strange noise in the back of her house – possibly a woman screaming or sexually assaulting her, she said – and wanted the police to investigate.

Mr. Noor and his accomplice were sent to the area for investigation. Testimony at Mr Noor’s trial suggested that Ms Ruszczyk went out into the dark alley to talk to officers, and startled them.

Sitting in his police cruiser, Mr. Noor fired a fatal shot at her chest. Ms. Ruszczyk, also known as Justin Daimond, was unarmed and wearing pyjamas.

Mr Noor’s lawyer Thomas Plunkett said in an email that Mr Noor was looking forward to reuniting with his family “as soon as possible”.

“We have always said this was a sad case, and we are grateful for the exceptionally well-reasoned and unanimous opinion from the Supreme Court of this state,” he said.

Mike Freeman, the top prosecutor for Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, said he was disappointed with the decision and would seek the maximum penalty if Mr.

“The court rejected prior case law supporting the charge decision of the Hennepin County Attorney’s office and we disagree with their analysis of the law,” Mr Freeman said in a statement. “However, we respect and acknowledge that the Minnesota Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this matter.”

Mr. Noor’s case was closely followed in Minneapolis’s vast Somali-American community. Mr Noor was the first officer of Somali heritage in his police complex, and his appointment was celebrated by the mayor at the time. Before and during Mr Noor’s trial, some members of the Somali community said they believed Mr Noor was being treated differently than a white officer. Ms. Ruszczyk was white.

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In an interview with a local news station in 2020, Ms Raszik’s fiancé, Don Dammond, said that three years after her death, he was disappointed by the lack of major changes in the Minneapolis Police Department and still hoped that More attention will be given. So that police officers can be trained to reduce stress.

Mr. Dammond has left the couple’s house, seeing the view of the street where he died was very painful.

Ms Ruszczyk’s death drew attention to the shortcomings of the Minneapolis Police Department, nearly three years before another Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd in an incident that sparked protests and civil unrest across the city and country. was given.

After Ms. Ruszczyk’s death, protesters called for a major overhaul of the police department, the police chief was fired from his job, and the city agreed to pay $20 million to settle a civil case. But mistrust and misconduct persisted, and the department, which has seen an exodus of officers since Mr Floyd’s death, is now under investigation by the Justice Department.

Unlike Mr Noor, Mr Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, a charge that was not an issue in the opinion of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mr Chauvin is serving a 22.5-year prison sentence for Mr Floyd’s death and, along with other officers at the scene, await trial on federal charges.

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