Cop Who Shot, Killed Bride-to-Be Charged With Murder

Justine Damond was killed soon after calling 911 to report possible sexual assault
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2018 2:46 PM CDT
In this Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Johanna Morrow plays the didgeridoo during a memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.   (Aaron Lavinsky /Star Tribune via AP, File)
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(Newser) – A Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Australian woman in July minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home was charged Tuesday with murder and manslaughter., the AP reports. Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in Tuesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old life coach, on July 15 minutes after she called 911. Damond's death drew international attention, cost the police chief her job and forced major revisions to the department's policy on body cameras. The criminal complaint specified third-degree murder "for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act" and the manslaughter charge alleges Noor acted with "culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk." Conviction on the first charge carries a presumptive sentence of 12 ½ years; the second, four years. Bail was set at $500,000.

Noor has not spoken publicly about the case and declined to answer questions from investigators. Noor's partner the night 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. "There is no evidence that, in that short timeframe, Officer Noor encountered, appreciated, investigated, or confirmed a threat that justified the decision to use deadly force," the criminal complaint said. "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." The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no squad camera video of the incident. (Read more Justine Damond stories.)

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