Justine Damond Ruszczyk and her fiance Don Damond lived together for two years before her death. Picture: Supplied
Justine Damond Ruszczyk and her fiance Don Damond lived together for two years before her death. Picture: Supplied

Cop in court over Justine’s death

THE police officer accused of killing unarmed Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond has appeared in court charged with third-degree murder.

Mohamed Noor is charged with fatally shooting the 40-year-old after she called the police to report a possible sexual assault behind her home in Minnesota in July.

Mr Noor spoke only to give his name and address and was not asked to enter a plea. He was supported in court by family members and friends.

The young officer's bail was set at $520,000, dependent on him surrendering his passport and not having any contact with his former partner, Officer Matthew Harrity.

Justine Ruszczyk Damond was allegedly shot dead by Officer Mohamed Noor after she called police to her home in Minneapolis in July. Picture: Supplied/Stephen Govel
Justine Ruszczyk Damond was allegedly shot dead by Officer Mohamed Noor after she called police to her home in Minneapolis in July. Picture: Supplied/Stephen Govel

The state had argued for it to be set at $650,000, claiming he was a flight risk because he had lost his job.

Mr Noor's lawyer Tom Plunkett said his client had been in the US since he was a child and had co-operated with investigators.

Mr Plunkett told Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance Mr Noor wasn't a flight risk, had a young family and had "no connections to any place other than his birth".

But prosecutor Amy Sweasy said Mr Noor no longer had a job that would keep him in Minnesota.

His next court date will be on May 8.

Investigators said Officer Mohammed Noor acted ‘recklessly’ when he shot dead the unarmed Australian woman last July.
Investigators said Officer Mohammed Noor acted ‘recklessly’ when he shot dead the unarmed Australian woman last July.

A supporter of Mr Noor outside court said he was "just doing what he was trained to do" and she didn't "think he was treated fairly".

Mr Noor yesterday turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Noor allegedly shot and killed the life coach after she approached two officers in the police car, having called them to report a possible sexual assault near her home.

Shocking details of her final moments were revealed in court documents following the arrest of Mr Noor. The charging documents revealed Ms Damond grabbed the left of her stomach where she was wounded and said: "I'm dying" or "I'm dead".

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a media conference the law prevented officers from being charged unless they were "unacceptably reckless".

 

 

A supporter of Police Officer Mohamed Noor says he was 'just doing what he was trained to do' and is being treated unfairly. He shot and killed A...

He said Mr Noor "violated the rules, and deserves to be charged", adding the officer abused his authority with deadly force.

He shot Ms Damond on July 15, minutes after she called 911 to report a possible rape in the alley behind her home.

"In the short time between when Ms Damond-Ruszczyk approached the squad car and the time Officer Noor fired the fatal shot, there is no evidence that officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat or confirmed a threat that justified his decision to use deadly force," Mr Freeman said.

"Instead, Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life."

Ms Damond lived with fiance Don Damond for two years before her death. Picture: Supplied
Ms Damond lived with fiance Don Damond for two years before her death. Picture: Supplied

Neighbours, friends and activists held a vigil for the Australian woman overnight after the police officer was charged in her death. Around 50 people gathered on Tuesday evening near the alley where Ms Damond was fatally shot in July.

Todd Schuman, a member of the group Justice for Justine, said police need to be held accountable for their actions that hurt individuals and damage their communities.

Minneapolis City Council member Linea Palmisano told Minnesota Public Radio that she had seen some improvements in the city's police department prompted by Ruszczyk's death, including a new chief and new body camera rules.

- With wires


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