The conviction for manslaughter of Mohamed Noor stands, and he will be punished on 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 sentence of 12 and a half years in prison for the murder of Justine Ruszczyk, will be punished on the less severe account of second degree manslaughter.
The conviction of Mr. Noor, 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 has been punished for a serious crime committed in the 'exercise of its functions. 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 of 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 shoot with aThe lethal 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 conviction for murder. “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 Australia, called 911 twice on a summer night four years ago to get help from her in a southwestern neighborhood of Minneapolis. She had reported hearing a strange noise behind her house - possibly a Crian womant 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. Ms Ruszczyk, who was also called Justine Damond, was unarmed and was wearing pajamas.
Thomas Plunkett, a lawyer for Mr Noor, said in an email that Mr. Noor looked forward to reuniting with his family "as soon as possible.
" We have always maintained that he This was a tragic case, and we are grateful for the exceptionally well-reasoned and unanimous opinion of the highest court in this state, "he said.
Mike Freeman, the chief prosecutor for Hennepin County, who includes Minneapolis, said he was disappointed with the decision and would seek the maximum sentence when Mr. Noor will be punished.
" The court overturned previous case law supporting the indictment decision of the Hennepin County District Attorney's Office and we do not agree with their analysis of the law "said Mr. Freeman. in a report. "However, we respect and recognize that the Minnesota Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this case.
Mr. 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 peDuring Mr Noor's trial, some members of the Somali community said they believed Mr Noor was treated differently from what a white officer would have been. Mrs. Ruszczyk was white.
In a interview with a local news station in 2020, Don Damond, Ms Ruszczyk's fiance, said that three years after his death he despaired of the lack of major change in the Minneapolis Police Department and still hoped that more focus would be placed on the means through which the police could be trained to defuse situations.
Mr. Damond moved out of the couple's house, finding the sight of the al ley where she died too painful.
Mme. Ruszc's deathzyk 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 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 chief of the font 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 Ministry of Justice.
Unlike Mr. Noor, Mr. Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, a charge that was not at issue in the opinion of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mr. Chauvin serves a sentence of 22.5 years in prison for the death of Mr. Floyd and, along with other police officers at the scene, is awaiting trial on federal charges.