A former police officer who shot dead an unarmed Australian yoga teacher has been granted bail.
Mohamed Noor, 32, appeared in court after being charged with murder and manslaughter over the killing of Justine Damond, 40, on July 15 last year.
The former Minneapolis police officer left Hennepin Country Public Safety Facility with his attorney Thomas Plunkett after posting $400,000 bail on Wednesday night in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
Mohamed Noor, 32, made a court appearance after being charged with murder and manslaughter over the killing of Justine Damond, 40, on July 15 last year
The former Minneapolis police officer left Hennepin Country Public Safety Facility with his attorney Thomas Plunkett after posting $400,000 bail on Wednesday night
Many of Noor’s supporters attended his hearing, and one said afterwards the police officer has been treated unfairly and was ‘just doing what he was trained to do’
Many of Noor’s supporters attended his hearing, and one said afterwards the police officer has been treated unfairly and was ‘just doing what he was trained to do’.
‘Mohamed Noor is an immigrant, African American Muslim, he’s got so many strikes,’ supporter and community activist Kiman Ugas said outside court.
‘He killed a white woman, that’s why he’s there today. The system failed him.’
Unarmed Australian yoga teacher Justine Damond died after she was shot by Noor
Noor left court with his lawyer after posting $400,000 bail
One of Noor’s bail conditions was to surrender his passport, as he is considered a flight risk
Noor’s attorneys argued he had no intention of travelling anywhere after posting bail
Mohamed Noor (pictured) 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
A supporter of Noor’s (pictured) said after the hearing the Somali-American officer has been treated unfairly and was ‘just doing what he was trained to do’
Noor (pictured in a courtroom sketch), who appeared in a black t-shirt under orange scrubs, was ordered to surrender his passport, as prosecutors argued he was a flight risk due to being unemployed
Bail was cut to US$400,000, with conditions preventing Noor from contacting his former partner and witness to the shooting Officer Matthew Harrity.
Noor, who appeared in a black t-shirt under orange scrubs, was ordered to surrender his passport, as prosecutors argued he was a flight risk due to being unemployed.
Defense attorney Tom Plunkett told Judge Kathryn Quaintance Noor was not a flight risk, had a young family and no connections to other places.
‘He has no connections to any place other than his birth,’ Mr Plunkett said.
Prosecutor Amy Sweasy disagreed, saying as Noor no longer worked for the Minneapolis Police Department there was no job to keep him in Minnesota.
Police officer Mohamed Noor was charged with murder and manslaughter over the shooting of Justine Damond (pictured)
State prosecutor and head of the County Attorney’s office, Mike Freeman, said that there was ‘no evidence’ that Noor was threatened by Justine (pictured, right with her fiance Don)
Noor shot Justine when she approached his squad car, leaving her grabbing a bullet wound in her stomach while saying ‘I’m dead’ or ‘I’m dying’.
The police officers attempted CPR immediately after the shooting but Justine died at the scene.
State prosecutor and head of the County Attorney’s office, Mike Freeman, said on Tuesday there was ‘no evidence’ Noor was threatened by Justine.
Officer Mohamed Noor (left) turned himself in Tuesday morning and is held on murder and manslaughter charges for shooting 40-year-old life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond (right)
Justine (pictured, left, with her fiance Don) was unarmed and had called 911 to alert police to what she believed may have been a rape taking place in the alley behind her home
Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman speaks at a news conference to announce charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor
‘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,’ he 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’s family said in a written statement they were pleased Mr Freeman decided to bring charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
They said they hoped 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.
Justine Damond (pictured) called 911 to report a possible rape and was shot by Mohamed Noor
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
‘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.
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.
Officer Harrity told investigators that he was startled by a loud noise right before Justine approached the driver’s- side window of their police vehicle.
Harrity, who was driving, said Noor then fired his weapon from the passenger seat. Justine died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
‘No charges can bring our Justine back,’ Justine’s father John Ruszcyzk (pictured) and Mr Damond said in the joint statement
‘Thrown under the bus’: Mohamed Noor (pictured, right) says his fellow officers are not backing him
The criminal complaint said Harrity heard a voice and a thump and caught a glimpse of a person’s head and shoulders outside his window
It said Harrity then heard a sound like a lightbulb breaking, saw a flash and looked to his right to see Noor with his arm extended.
He then looked out his window and saw Justine with a gunshot wound. Justine put her hands on the wound and said ‘I’m dying’ or ‘I’m dead.’
‘We both got spooked,’ Harrity told his sergeant, according to the complaint.
The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting. There was no squad camera video.
Johanna Morrow plays the didgeridoo during a memorial service for Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis on August 11
Justine was unarmed and had called 911 to alert police to what she believed may have been a rape taking place behind her home.
Noor told friends 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 Australian women (pictured) was due to marry her fiance when she was shot dead last July
WHAT NOOR SAID IN PUBLIC THROUGH HIS ATTORNEY
‘Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event.
He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers.
He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities.
He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling.
He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves.
Officer Noor is a caring person with a family he loves and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing.
The current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling.
We would like to say more, and will in the future.
At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.’
The squad car, driven by Harrity traveled hastily down the unlit alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues south from West 50th Street toward West 51st Street.
Crucially, the vehicle did not have its lights on and this may have been so as not to give any suspect notice that police had arrived and buy precious time to apprehend the target.
That the car was unlit was disclosed by Harrity to the BCA, and both Noor and the BCA’s version of events agree on the car’s lights being off.
According to Noor’s version when they reached the end of the alley, they came across a waiting, panicking figure.
It was dark, and the figure was moving around and approached their vehicle.
Mourners attend a march in honour of at Beard’s Plaissance Park in Minneapolis last July
Noor said he did not know whether the figure who rushed towards their vehicle was the 911 caller or even if it was a man or woman.
He fired his weapon through Harrity’s open driver’s window hitting his victim once in the abdomen.
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.
John Ruszczyk, father of Justine Damond, holds a press conference with his family in Sydney after the shooting
THE FATEFUL 911 CALL WHICH LED TO JUSTINE DAMOND’S DEATH
Incident Number: 17-265936 July 15, 2017; 23.27:02
Operator: 911, what’s the address of the emergency?
Caller: Hi, I’m, I can hear someone out the back and I, I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped.
Operator: Give me the address.
Caller: XXXX Washburn Avenue South.
Operator: Washburn Avenue South. You said it’s behind (inaudible)?
Caller: And there’s a (inaudible) out the back, yup, yup. And I think she just yelled out ‘help,’ but it’s difficult the sound has been going on for a while, but I think, I don’t think she’s enjoying it. I think it’s, I don’t know.
Operator: Okay, already got a call started and help on the way. Uh, you can’t see anything, you’re just hearing a female screaming then, is that what you’re saying?
Caller: Yeah. It sounds like sex noises, but it’s been going on for a while and I think she tried to say help and it sounds distressed.
Operator: Okay, I’ve already got an officer on the way. What is your name?
Operator: JUSTINE, what’s your last name?
Operator: And a phone number?
Operator: Okay, we’ve already got help on the way. If anything changes before we get there just give us a call right back, but officers should be there soon.
Operator: Okay, not a problem.
[DAMOND CALLS BACK AT 23.35:23]
Operator: 911, what is the address of the emergency?
Caller: Hi, I just reported one, but no one’s here and was wondering if they got the address wrong.
Operator: What’s the address?
Caller: XXXX Washburn Avenue South. It supposed to be Washburn Avenue South.
Operator: Are you JUSTINE?
Caller: Yeah, (inaudible).
Operator: You’re hearing a female screaming?
Caller: Yes, along behind the house.
Operator: Yup, officers are on the way there.
Caller: Thank you.
Operator: You’re welcome, bye.
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