Former Minneapolis Cop Gets New, Shorter Sentence in Killing of 911 Caller 

A Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman after she called 911 to report a possible rape happening behind her home was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in prison — the most the judge could impose but less than half the 12½ years he was sentenced to before his murder conviction was overturned last month. 

Mohamed Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual U.S.-Australian citizen and yoga teacher. But the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out Noor’s murder conviction and sentence last month, saying the third-degree murder statute didn’t fit the case because it can only apply when a defendant shows a “generalized indifference to human life,” not when the conduct is directed at a particular person, as it was with Damond.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance, who also presided at Noor’s trial, granted prosecutors’ request to impose the maximum sentence in state guidelines on Noor’s manslaughter conviction, 57 months. In doing so, she brushed aside the defense’s request for 41 months, which is the low end of the range. With good behavior, Noor could be freed on supervised release by next summer. The state prison website listed his anticipated release date as June 27. 

“Mr. Noor, I am not surprised that you have been a model prisoner,” Quaintance said. “However, I do not know any authority that would make that grounds for reducing your sentence.” She cited Noor “shooting across the nose of your partner” and endangering others the night of the shooting to hand down the stiffest sentence she could. 

Noor, who was fired after he was charged, has served more than 29 months and had been serving most of his time at an out-of-state facility. In Minnesota, inmates who behave well typically serve two-thirds of their prison sentences and the remainder on supervised release.

Noor’s appeal of his murder conviction was watched closely for implications in the case of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of the same charge in George Floyd’s death.

After the state Supreme Court overturned Noor’s third-degree murder conviction, experts said they expected the same eventual result for Chauvin but that it would likely have little impact because Chauvin was also convicted of a more serious second-degree murder charge in Floyd’s death. Chauvin was sentenced to 22½years. 

Noor’s attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, sought 41 months at the resentencing, citing Noor’s good behavior behind bars and harsh conditions he faced during many months in solitary, away from the general prison population. 

Damond’s parents, John Ruszczyk and Maryan Heffernan, also asked the judge to impose the longest sentence. In a statement read by prosecutors, they called Damond’s death “utterly gratuitous” and said that the Minnesota Supreme Court’s overturning of a “poorly written law” didn’t change the jury’s belief that Noor committed murder. 

“Our sorrow is forever, our lives will always endure an emptiness,” they said. 

The victim’s fiancé, Don Damond, gave his statement via Zoom. He started by praising prosecutors for their “sound application of the law” and criticizing the state Supreme Court for its reversal, which he said “does not diminish the truth that was uncovered during the trial.” 

“The truth is Justine should be alive. No amount of justification, embellishment, cover-up, dishonesty or politics will ever change that truth,” he said. 

But Don Damond also spoke directly to Noor, saying he forgave him and had no doubt Justine also would have forgiven him “for your inability in managing your emotions that night.” 

Noor, wearing a suit and tie and donning a face mask, appeared impassive as the victim’s loved ones’ statements were read. He later addressed the court briefly, saying, “I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Damond’s forgiveness. I am deeply sorry for the pain that I’ve caused that family. And I will take his advice and be a unifier. Thank you.” 

Noor, who is Somali American, was believed to be the first Minnesota officer 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 in which the officer is Black and his victim was white. Some questioned whether the case was treated the same as police shootings involving Black victims. 

 

коментуйте: