Ex-cop sentenced to 12.5 years for killing of Australian woman

2019-06-08 08:42
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced on Friday to 12 years and six months in prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman who had been trying to report a crime.

Mohamed Noor, 33, was convicted in April of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the 2017 death of Justine Damond, in a case that shocked the Midwestern city and sparked outrage in the victim's home country.

Noor was responding to her late-night report of a possible sexual assault in an alley in Minneapolis.

At sentencing Noor told the judge of his fear of an ambush and then his horror over learning he had shot an innocent woman.

"That mistake is my hardship to bear," Noor told the judge, his voice breaking.

"The act may have been based on a miscalculation, but it was an intentional act," Hennepin County District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance said in handing down her sentence.

During the trial Noor testified that he shot Damond, an Australian who had moved to the US, to protect his partner, because he had feared an ambush when responding to an emergency call she had made.

But prosecutors insisted the shooting was unreasonable and contrary to police department training policy.

Noor targeted Damond from the passenger seat of the police cruiser he was in with his partner, Matthew Harrity.

The 40-year-old victim had approached the cruiser after calling 911 twice to report a possible rape in the dark alley behind her home. No such assault was found to have occurred.

The shooting came at a time of heightened tensions over officer-involved shootings in the US.

Shot in the abdomen, Damond died at the scene. Her last words were: "I'm dying," according to earlier testimony from Justine's fiance, Don Damond of Minneapolis. He was out of town on business and with her on the phone when she was slain.

Justine Damond had moved to the Midwestern city to marry him and had planned to legally change her name from her maiden name, Ruszczyk.

Friday, Damond read a victim impact statement as if he were speaking to the woman he'd known as his soulmate.

"My beloved, my dear friend, my future-wife-to-be," he began, pausing to compose himself between tears and jagged breaths. "How do I sum up the pain, the trauma, of these last 23 months in this proceeding?"

'As your breath slipped away' 

That day, on July 15, 2017, Damond said, was the last time he felt a sense of happiness, of trust that everything would be OK.

"I miss you so much every day, every moment," he said, voice wavering.

He had been on the phone with her when she made her call, upon his advice, and left to walk toward the police cruiser, barefoot in her pajamas. She told him she was going to talk to the police, and then he heard her say, "I'm dying," as she fell to the ground.

"I wish I could have held you as your breath slipped away," he said softly.

Damond's parents had called for the maximum punishment for Noor, describing their daughter as an intelligent, kind, and vivacious woman who died trying to help someone else.

Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, second-degree manslaughter carries a penalty of 120-180 months, with the presumptive sentence of 150 months.

The judge noted that third-degree murder calls for a 150-month sentence, but given it is a lesser offense, she did not impose a sentence for that crime.

In addition to his imprisonment, Noor is now banned from using or possessing guns or explosives. He must pay a $6,000 fine and restitution yet to be determined, and provide a DNA sample.

Read more on:    us  |  australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.