A Minneapolis police officer who shot an unarmed woman after she called 911 was sentenced Thursday to almost five years in prison for manslaughter.
Judge Kathryn Quaintance, who presided over former officer Mohamed Noor's trial, granted the prosecutor's request for the maximum sentence, which will place Noor in prison for 57 months. Noor has already served 29 months in jail and was described by Quaintance as a "model prisoner." Presuming Noor continues to be on good behavior, the former officer could serve the final third of his sentence on supervised release starting next summer.
In a statement made over Zoom, the victim's fiance thanked prosecutors for their "sound application of the law."
However, he criticized the state Supreme Court for reversing the murder charges, saying, "The truth is, Justine should be alive. No amount of justification, embellishment, cover-up, dishonesty, or politics will ever change that truth."
Noor was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder and manslaughter for the 2017 fatal shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Damond was a dual U.S.- Australian citizen who had called 911 to report a possible rape behind her house. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in September 2021 that the third-degree murder charges did not fit Noor's actions but upheld the manslaughter charge.
Noor testified at his 2019 trial that he and his partner were driving slowly in an alley when a loud sound led the officers to fear for their lives. Upon seeing a woman appear at his partner's driver-side window, Noor claims he fired a shot from the passenger seat to stop what he thought was a threat.
Don Ruszczyk previously spoke directly to Noor in his testimony, saying that he is still grieving the loss of Damond and that he still misses her. However, Don also described his fiancee as a "unifier" who lived with the "highest level of morality of anyone I had the privilege of knowing" and called her a woman who "generously forgave others for their injustices and poor behavior."
Don went on to tell Noor that he forgave him and that he had no doubt Justine also would have forgiven him “for [his] inability in managing [his] emotions that night.”
Noor, wearing a suit and face mask during the proceedings, later addressed the court, stating, “I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Damond’s forgiveness. I will take his advice and be a unifier. Thank you.”
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Original Author: Christopher Hutton
Original Location: Minneapolis officer who shot unarmed woman sentenced to five years in prison