Minneapolis police officer charged in fatal shooting of Australian woman

21 March, 2018, 08:13 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Mohamed Noor

The American police officer accused of fatally gunning down Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk has been charged with murder and manslaughter.

Damond's father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiance, Don Damond, issued a joint statement saying the decision to charge Noor was "one step toward justice for this iniquitous act".

Mohamed Noor shot Justine Damond, a 40-year-old resident of the city of Minneapolis, after she called to report a possible rape in the evening hours, and approached the police auto that had arrived to investigate.

A criminal complaint says Noor's partner, Matthew Harrity, pulled his gun upon hearing a sound and catching a glimpse of someone behind their SUV. The officer who shot Justine Damond is identified as Mohamed Noor, who had less than two years of experience and became an officer after working in property management.

The complaint says that there is no evidence Noor justified his decision to use deadly force, and instead he recklessly fired his handgun. As they drove down a nearby alley, Damond ran up out of the darkness in her pajamas and slapped the back of the vehicle.

The officers were preparing to drive away when they heard a noise that startled them, the court filing said, causing Harrity to believe "his life was in danger".

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.

"I stand here today surprised, but glad that charges have been filed against Officer Noor and in the same breath I feel sadness and anger for all the other families who have not experiences this sort of justice", said Bradley.

July 20 - Police Chief Janee Harteau makes first remarks on shooting, says it "should not have happened" but defends Noor's training.

The family said in a written statement that they're pleased that Freeman chose to bring charges. Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

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According to reports by CBS News, Noor and two other officers were sued past year for false imprisonment, assault, battery, and negligence for their alleged conduct during a welfare check.

Both officers were wearing body cameras, but they were turned off, as were the headlights of their vehicle. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect", they said in the statement.

Noor was charged Tuesday with murder and manslaughter counts. "These were the actions and judgments of one individual".

Noor refused to cooperate with investigators.

In September, the BCA turned its investigation over to Freeman's office for consideration of criminal charges against Noor.

The attorney for Damond's family, Bob Bennett, could not be reached on Tuesday.

But, he says he hopes that the charges are based on the "heinousness of the crime" and not on Officer Mohamed Noor's ethnicity.

Another member of the city council - Andrea Jenkins - was in attendance, along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

In a statement, Noor's attorney Tom Plunkett said, "The facts will show that Officer Noor acted as he has been trained and consistent with established departmental policy".


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