MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alleyway behind her home is set to be released from prison next week, months later. his murder conviction was quashed and he was resented on a lower charge.
Mohamed Noor, 36, will be released on Monday, according to online data from the Department of Corrections.
Noor was initially convicted of manslaughter and third-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting in 2017 Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual American-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married. But last year, the Minnesota Supreme Court threw away his murder conviction and 12 1/2 years in prisonsaying that the murder charge did not apply to the circumstances of this case.
He was sentenced to four years and nine months on the charge of manslaughter.
In Minnesota, it is believed that a well-conducted defendant will serve two-thirds of a sentence in prison and the remainder under controlled release, commonly known as parole. The DOC website states that Noor will be released under surveillance until January 24, 2024.
Related Video: Former Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor Sentenced To Jail
Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, said Friday the family was disappointed that Norway’s third-degree murder conviction was overturned.
“His release after a trivial sentence shows a profound disrespect for the wishes of the jury representing the Minneapolis communities and their desire to make a statement about the communities’ expectations of the behavior and actions of the police,” Ruszczyk wrote in response to questions by email from The Associated Press.
After his conviction, Noor began serving his time at the Minnesota maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, but the Star Tribune reported that he was transferred to a facility in North Dakota in July 2019 for his own safety. Department of Corrections spokesman Nicholas Kimball said Noor is still out of state but did not specify where.
“For security reasons, we can’t give more details than what’s available on the public website, which is the planned release date,” Kimball said.
It was not clear whether Noor would return to Minnesota. His attorney, Tom Plunkett, declined to comment, saying, “At this point, I just want to respect Mr Noor’s privacy.”
Damon’s murder angry citizens in USA and Australia, and led to the resignation of the Minneapolis Police Chief. It also led the department to change its policy on body cameras; Noor and his partner had not activated theirs when they investigated Damond’s 911 call.
Noor testified at his 2019 trial that he and his partner were driving slowly down an alleyway when a loud bang on their police SUV left him fearing for their lives. He said he saw a woman appear at the driver’s side window of the partner and raise her right arm before firing a shot from the passenger seat to stop what he thought was a threat.
Damond was a meditation teacher and life coach who was murdered about a month before her wedding. Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk, and although she was not yet married, she was already using her fiancé’s last name.
Her fiancé, Don Damond, declined to comment on Noor’s upcoming release, but said during Noor’s grudge that he had forgiven the former officer, and that he had no doubt Justine would have forgiven him too “for your inability to express your emotions.” to control that night. †
Noor, a Somali American, was believed to be the first Minnesota officer to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Activists who had long called for officers to be held accountable for the deadly use of force applauded the murder conviction but lamented that it came in a case where the officer is black and his victim is white.
Since the conviction of Noor, former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of murder in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, a black man pinned to the sidewalk below Chauvin’s knee. Chauvin’s colleague, Thomas Lane, pleaded guilty to complicity in manslaughter while two other officers await trial on charges of complicity in murder and manslaughter. All four have been convicted on federal charges of violating Floyd’s rights.
In another case, former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter was convicted of manslaughter after she said she mistook her Taser for her pistol when she fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black driver, during a traffic stop last year.
John Ruszczyk said in his email to the AP that his family believes state investigators and the Minneapolis police did not fully cooperate investigating the murder of his daughter and he was disturbed by the culture of the agency. He said he believes the department accepts the use of force as a way to manage challenging situations, which he believes contributed to her death. He quoted a recent report from the State Department of Human Rights which found that the agency has been dealing with a pattern of racial discrimination for at least a decade, including the increased use of violence against people of color.
“How could officers take to the streets in the role of defenders of public safety and order with an attitude to their duties and obligations that allows them to shoot first and ask questions later?” He wrote.
Days after Norwegian sentencing, Minneapolis Agreed to Pay $20 Million to Damond’s Family, considered at the time the largest police brutality settlement in Minnesota. It was surpassed last year when Minneapolis agreed to a $27 million settlement for Floyd’s death, just as Chauvin was on trial.
This story has been updated to correct Norwegian sentence for manslaughter to four years and nine months, not 41 months.