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BY Francis Akhalbey, 10:30am June 27, 2022,

Former Somali-American cop convicted of killing White woman to be released

Former Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor was convicted of killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017

Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of killing a woman after he responded to a 911 call, is scheduled to be released from prison on Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Noor’s imminent release comes months after the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed his murder conviction in the 2017 shooting death of U.S.-Australian citizen Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Noor was initially sentenced to 12 and half years in prison after he was found guilty of third-degree murder and manslaughter. But the Somali American’s sentence was reduced to four years and nine months after the third-degree murder conviction was reversed.

Per Minnesota state law, defendants who exhibit good behavior while incarcerated can be released after they serve two-thirds of their sentence. They serve the rest of their sentence on supervised release. Noor is expected to complete his supervised release on Jan. 24, 2024, the DOC’s website stated.

Responding to the news of his release, Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, said Noor gaining freedom “after a trivial sentence shows great disrespect to the wishes of the jury who represented the communities of Minneapolis and their wish to make a statement about the communities’ expectations of police behaviour and actions.”

Maryan Heffernan, who is the stepmother of the deceased woman, also said Noor being released some weeks before Damond’s death anniversary was painful. 

“We’re very disappointed. But we’re not surprised,” Heffernan said. “We’ve been watching events in Minneapolis from miles away and we’re still bewildered about the charge being dropped and we’re still bewildered about the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department,” 

Heffernan also said she feels Noor’s actions were a result of a “very dysfunctional department.”

Damond’s shooting death reportedly drew outrage in both the United States and Australia. The Minneapolis police chief at the time also resigned as a result. 

A jury in 2017 initially found Noor guilty of third-degree murder and manslaughter for shooting and killing Damond in 2017. The deceased White woman had called police to report a possible sexual assault around her house in 2017. Noor and his partner responded to the scene.

During the trial, Noor spoke about the moment he shot the 40-year-old yoga teacher and life coach who was just a month away from her wedding when she was killed. “If I knew this would happen, I would never have become a cop,” Noor told the jury.

The former cop also claimed he opened fire because he feared his partner’s life could be in danger. He also said he thought they were being ambushed when Damond came close to their squad car which was parked in an isolated alley. Before the incident, city officials had celebrated Noor after he became the precinct’s first Somali-American police officer in a state with a large Somali population.

Until the Supreme Court’s decision, Noor was Minnesota’s first police officer to be convicted of murder while on duty. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 27, 2022


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