A Minneapolis police officer who shot dead an unarmed Australian yoga teacher in her pajamas after responding to her 911 call intends to plead not guilty.
Court documents filed Wednesday show Mohamed Noor will plead not guilty at his May 8 court appearance, Minnesota Public Radio News is reporting.
The documents also say Noor intends to present self-defense and reasonable force defenses.
Noor is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 15 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Court documents filed Wednesday show Mohamed Noor (seen above after posting bail in Minneapolis on March 21) will plead not guilty at his May 8 court appearance
Noor shot dead an unarmed Australian yoga teacher in her pajamas after responding to her 911 call
Noor is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 15 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond (above)
Prosecutors say Noor was in a squad car’s passenger seat when he shot Damond through the open driver’s side window after she approached the vehicle.
When charges were announced, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said there was no evidence Noor encountered a threat that justified using deadly force.
Noor, 32, turned himself in on the morning of March 20.
He shot Justine in the stomach when she approached his squad car minutes after she called police to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.
Charging documents reveal Justine said ‘I’m dead’ or ‘I’m dying’ as she clasped her stomach after being shot.
Prosecutors say Noor was in a squad car’s passenger seat when he shot Damond through the open driver’s side window after she approached the vehicle
She was given CPR by the officers but died at the scene.
‘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,’ Freeman said.
‘Instead, Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life. Such actions violate the criminal law.’
JUSTINE DAMOND SHOOTING – A TIMELINE OF EVENTS
July 15 – 11.27pm – Justine Damond calls 911 to report hearing sounds of distress from a girl or woman behind her house. She says it may be a rape. A dispatcher says officers should arrive soon.
11.35pm. – Justine calls 911 again to ask why police haven’t arrived yet. She gives the dispatcher the address again.
11.41pm. – Officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor arrive and drive south down the alley behind Justine’s house. Harrity, who is driving, is startled by a loud noise near his squad car. Justine approaches the driver’s side window immediately afterward, and Noor fires his gun past Harrity, striking Justine through that window of the vehicle, according to Harrity in an interview with state investigators.
11.42pm – Radio report of one person down, starting CPR.
11.50pm – Radio report of police doing CPR for ‘last four minutes’.
11.51pm – Justine is pronounced dead in the alley at the south end of her block. A medical examiner later says Justine was shot once in the abdomen.
July 16 – Hundreds gather in Justine’s southwest Minneapolis neighborhood to mourn her death. Mayor Betsy Hodges visits scene, says she is ‘heartsick’ and ‘deeply disturbed’ by shooting. State investigators say the officers involved in the shooting had not turned on their body cameras and squad car video didn’t capture the shooting.
July 17 – An autopsy shows Justine died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. Her fiancé Don Damond says the family has been given no information about how the shooting happened. The officer who shot Justine is identified as Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American with less than two years of experience who became an officer after working in property management. In a statement from his attorney, Noor offers condolences to Justine’s family.
July 18 – State investigators say Noor declined to be interviewed. They say his partner, Matthew Harrity, told them Harrity was startled by a loud noise right before Justine approached the officers’ SUV, and that Noor – in the passenger seat – shot her through the driver’s-side window.
July 20 – Police Chief Janee Harteau makes first remarks on shooting, says it ‘should not have happened’ but defends Noor’s training. Harteau also says the city is reviewing its policy on body cameras and wants them to be used more often.
July 21 – Harteau resigns at Hodges’ request after the mayor says she no longer has confidence in the chief. Hodges names Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo to take over. At a news conference to discuss the change, Hodges is shouted down by protesters who say she should resign, too.
August 11 – Justine’s family holds a public memorial service in Minneapolis.
August 28 – Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says he expects to decide on charges by year’s end.
September 12 – Authorities announce that the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation has handed the case over to Freeman’s office.
November 18 – Council Member Jacob Frey defeats Hodges in the mayor’s race. Much of the campaign focused on police-community relations.
December 13 – Freeman is caught on video saying he doesn’t have enough evidence to charge Noor and blaming investigators ‘who haven’t done their job’.
December 28 – Freeman says he’ll miss his self-imposed deadline of deciding on charges by year’s end because he needs more time.
January 24, 2018 – Attorneys say Freeman convened a grand jury and subpoenaed other officers to compel them to tell what they know. Freeman says he still intends to make his own decision on charges.
March 20 – Noor turns himself in to the Hennepin County Jail on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Bail is set at $500,000.
March 21 – Noor appears in court where bail is cut to $400,000 conditional on Noor surrendering his passport and not having contact with Harrity
Justine’s family said in a written statement that they’re pleased that Mr Freeman decided to bring charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
They said they hope a strong case will be presented and Noor will be convicted, calling the charges ‘one step toward justice for this iniquitous act’.
‘No charges can bring our Justine back,’ Justine’s father John Ruszcyzk and Mr Damond said in the joint statement.
‘However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that.’
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is investigating the shooting, said in a statement that he had declined to be interviewed and that his attorney had not said if or when an interview would take place.
Justine’s family said in a written statement that they’re pleased that Mr Freeman decided to bring charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter (pictured are Justine and Don Damond)
Justine was unarmed and had called 911 to alert police to what she believed may have been a rape taking place behind her home
However, many of the key parts of Noor’s narrative gel with the version of events released by the BCA, who had interviewed his partner, Matthew Harrity.
Justine was unarmed and had called 911 to alert police to what she believed may have been a rape taking place behind her home.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a friend of Noor’s told DailyMail.com that the officer had opened fire when an unidentified figure emerged from the dark and ran towards the vehicle.
The officer said he was not sure what the person was carrying and momentarily opened fire through his driver-partner’s open window.
It was confirmed that Justine’s cell phone was found alongside her during the tragedy.
Noor told associates it was dark and the situation was already tense as the caller had been ‘panicking’ when making the 911 call reporting an assault in the alley beyond where Justine lived with her fiancé and his son.
The squad car, driven by his partner Matthew Harrity traveled hastily down the unlit alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues south from West 50th Street toward West 51st Street.
Both he and Harrity gave CPR to the victim before help and back-up arrived, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The charge of third-degree murder carries a maximum of of 25 years in prison, although the presumptive sentence is 12 years.
The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and the presumptive sentence is four years.
Noor has been freed on $400,000 bail.