The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman in July was charged with murder Tuesday after he turned himself in when a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in Tuesday in connection with the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, his attorney confirmed.
Minnesota Police Officer Mohamed Noor has been charged in the fatal shooting of Justin Damond. (MPD)
The criminal complaint remained sealed by midday Tuesday, but according to the jail roster Noor was booked on a third-degree murder charge for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act while showing a “depraved mind.” The second-degree manslaughter charge alleges he acted with “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.”
Damond was shot July 15, minutes after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. The 40-year-old life coach’s death drew international attention, cost the police chief her job and forced major revisions to the department’s policy on body cameras.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was scheduled to discuss charges Tuesday afternoon.
Noor, a 32-year-old Somali-American, has not talked publicly about the case and declined to be interviewed by state investigators.
In a statement Tuesday, Damond’s family praised the charges, calling them “one step toward justice.”
“No charges can bring our Justine back. 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 statement said.
A police officer who was with Noor at the time of the shooting, Matthew Harrity, told investigators that he was startled by a loud noise right before Damond approached the driver’s side window of their police SUV. Harrity, who was driving, said Noor then fired his weapon from the passenger seat. Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no squad camera video of the incident.
The lack of video was widely criticized, and Damond’s family members were among the many people who called for changes in procedure, including how often officers are required to turn on their cameras.
The shooting also prompted questions about the training of Noor, a two-year veteran and Somali-American whose arrival on the force had been celebrated by city leaders and Minnesota’s large Somali community. Noor, 32, had trained in business and economics and worked in property management before becoming an officer.
Then-Chief Janee Harteau defended Noor’s training and said he was suited to be on the street, even as she criticized the shooting itself. But Harteau — who was on vacation when the shooting happened and didn’t make her first public appearance until several days after the shooting — was forced out soon after by Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said she had lost confidence in the chief.
Harteau’s replacement, Medaria Arradondo, quickly announced a policy change requiring officers to turn on their body cameras in responding to any call or traffic stop.
If convicted of third-degree murder, Noor could face a maximum of 25 years in prison, though the presumptive sentence is 12 ½ years. A judge could issue a sentence ranging from about 10 ½ to 15 years.
The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but the presumptive sentence is four years.
Jail records show he’s being held on $500,000 bail.