Justin Damond officer charged, The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman last July was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter eight months after the case sparked protests, international outrage and the firing of the city’s police chief.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Mohamed Noor, 32, acted “recklessly” when he fired the shot into the dark that killed 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond after she called 911 to report a suspected rape in her south Minneapolis neighborhood.
The shot came after Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity, had driven through the alley behind Damond’s home, saw no suspicious activity and were preparing to leave when they were surprised by someone outside the police car. Harrity, the driver, told investigators he was “spooked,” feared for his life, and took his gun from its holster before Noor reached across and fired his weapon out the driver’s side window.
Harrity looked out his window and saw Damond clutching her abdomen with both hands. He recalled her saying, “I’m dying,” or “I’m dead.”
Freeman said the investigation of the shooting uncovered no evidence that Noor “encountered, appreciated, investigated or confirmed a threat that justified the decision to use deadly force.”
“Instead, officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat, a location at which he would have been less able than officer Harrity to see and hear events on the other side of the squad car,” Freeman said.
The shooting showed evidence of “a depraved mind,” as the charges are defined, and “culpable negligence,” Freeman said, though he acknowledged that proving that to a jury is “a daunting task.”