The conviction for manslaughter of Mohamed Noor stands, and he will be punished for this count in the death of Justine Ruszczyk.
Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who in 2017 killed a woman who called for help at her home, has had her third One degree murder conviction was dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday, a sharp turnaround in a case that has attracted international attention.
Noor, who is currently serving a prison sentence of 12 and a half years for the murder of Justine Ruszczyk, will be punished onthe less severe second-degree manslaughter count.
Mr. Noor's conviction, the first in decades for a Minnesota officer in a Fatal shooting while on duty, was presented at the time as a rare example of a police officer who was punished for a serious crime committed in the line of duty. The decision to quash it was seen as a setback for activists who pushed for significant changes in the police force and highlighted the difficulties of prosecuting and convicting police officers for shootings on duty.
The 28-page opinion of Minnesota 's highest court focused on the details of the "depraved" murder law on which Mr. Noor was convicted, and on whether his actions might meet the definition of this crime if it was aimed at a single person. Jurors acquitted Mr.Noor on a more serious second degree murder charge. Second degree manslaughter, the conviction for which Mr. Noor will be convicted, can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison or as little as a fine.
"We can very well agree that Noor's decision to fire a deadly weapon simply because he was caught was disproportionate and unreasonable," the Supreme Court justices wrote in their opinion , which overturned a state appeals court decision to uphold the murder conviction. “Noor's conduct is particularly troubling given the trust citizens should be able to place in our peace officers. But the tragic circumstances of this case do not change the fact that Noor's conduct was directed in a particular way towards Ruszczyk. Ruszczyk, 40, yoga teacher who has spent most of his life in Australie, called 911 twice on a summer night four years ago for help at her home in a southwestern Minneapolis neighborhood. She had reported hearing a strange noise behind her house - possibly a woman screaming or having been sexually assaulted, she said - and she wanted the police to check it out.
Sir. Noor and his partner were sent to the area to investigate. Mr. Noor's trial testimony suggested that Ms. Ruszczyk went out into the dark alley to talk to the officers and surprised them.
Mr. Noor, sitting in his police car, fired a single fatal shot in his chest. Mrs Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, was unarmed and wore pajamas.
Thomas Plunkett, lawyerMr. Noor's t, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the county prose manager for Minneapolis said the office planned to comment later Wednesday.
Noor's case had been closely watched in the large Somali-American community of Minneapolis. Mr Noor was the first officer of Somali origin in his police station, and his hiring was celebrated at the time by the mayor. Before and during Mr. Noor's trial, some members of the Somali community said they believed Mr. Noor was treated differently than a white officer would have been. Mrs. Ruszczyk was white.
In a interview with a local news station in 2020, Don Damond, Mm's fiancee Ruszczyk, said that three years after his death, he despaired of the lack of major change within the Minneapolis Police Department and still hoped that there would be more focus on how police officers could be. trained to defuse situations.
Mr. Damond left the couple's house, finding the sight of the alley where she died too painful.
Mme. Ruszczyk's death drew attention to the deficiencies of the Minneapolis Police Department nearly three years before another Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd in an incident that sparked offenders. protests and civil unrest across town and country.
In the aftermath of Ms Ruszczyk's death, protesters called for an overhaul of the police department , the police chief was forced to quit her 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 Department of Justice.
Unlike Mr. Noor, Mr. Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, a charge which was not in issue in the Minnesota Supreme Court opinion. Mr. Chauvin is serving a 22.5 years in prison for the death of Mr. Floyd and, along with other officers at the scene, is pending trial on federal charges.