The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed the murder conviction against former Minneapolis police officer Muhammad Noor, who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
On July 15, 2017, Justine Damond called 911. Two members of the Minneapolis Police department arrived in a squad car. Noor, sitting in the passenger seat, reached over his partner and opened fire on Damond through the driver’s side window and killed her. There was no provocation for the shooting. Noor immediately lawyered up and refused to cooperate with the investigation.
To make matters worse, Noor was only hired because the Minneapolis city government ordered them to hire some East Africans, even if none met the qualifications.
In 2015, the Minneapolis PD hired Somali-born Mohammed Noor under a special program called “fast-tracking.” Critics say this program was solely created to hire unqualified officers for the purpose of meeting politically motivated diversity goals. Multiple training officers and police psychiatrists said he was unfit for duty.
On her personal Facebook page, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges publicly bragged about Noor being hired as a police officer. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also publicly praised his hiring.
Within his first two years of being a police officer, he acquired three complaints and was being sued for sticking his gun to a woman’s head during a routine traffic stop. Despite all the red flags, he was kept on the force because Mayor Betsy Hodges and others on the city council decided that the local police needed East African police officers at any cost.
Then, after less than 26 months on the force, he shot and killed Justine Damond. Since the victim was a dual citizen of Australia, it was a national news story in Australia for a few days. It was barely mentioned in the USA media at the time.
Eventually, ten months later, the city of Minneapolis finally charged Noor with second-degree murder, third degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. On April 30, 2019, a jury acquitted him of second degree murder, and convicted him of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. He was given 12.5 years in prison. Damond’s family went on to win the largest police brutality settlement in US history against the Minneapolis police department.
Now, on September 15, 2021, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed his conviction in a 28 page ruling written by Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. The court features seven justices, five of whom are Democrats and two of whom are Republicans.
The Supreme Court Justices declared that Noor was not guilty of third-degree murder because he allegedly did not show a “depraved mind.” Noor claims he was frightened by an unrelated loud noise and that caused him to shoot and kill Damond.
The case will now go back to the district court, where he will face four years for second-degree manslaughter. Without the third-degree murder charge, he will be eligible for parole by the end of this year if the judge gives him credit for time already served.