The US police officer who shot Australian woman Justine Damond in Minneapolis, Minnesota has turned himself in, after being charged over her death. According to his arrest warrant, Officer Mohamed Noor is charged with third degree murder “perpetrating eminently an dangerous act and evincing depraved mind” and second-degree manslaughter, “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.”
Hennepin County prosecutors say Officer Noor “acted in disregard for human life” when he shot Damond in the alley behind the Minneapolis home she shared with her American fiancé, Don.
Damond had called the police that night, July 15, over concerns someone was being assaulted in the alley, after she heard suspicious noises. Originally from Sydney, the 40-year-old had moved to Minnesota to live with Don. The pair had planned to marry in August 2017.
“In the short time between when Ms Damond-Ruszczyk approached the squad car and the time Officer Noor fired the fatal shot, there is no evidence that officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat or confirmed a threat that justified his decision to use deadly force,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a media conference in Minneapolis.
Officer Noor invoked his fifth amendment right not to be interviewed; however, an account of what happened on the night of Damond's night has been given by the other officer on the scene, Matthew Harrity.
Harrity told investigators that the pair heard a thump behind their squad car and were spooked by a person appearing at the driver's side window. Within seconds, according to court documents, Officer Noor fired from the passenger's seat, striking Damond. She "put her hands on a gunshot wound on the left side of her abdomen and said ‘I’m dying’ or ‘I’m dead,'" Harrity said.
According the Star Tribune, "Damond, in her [pyjamas], went to the driver's side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver's side door."
"Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life," Hennepin County Attorney Freeman said. Damond's father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiancé, Don, said the charges against Noor are "one step toward justice for this iniquitous act." If found guilty, the officer could face between 12 and a half and 25 years in prison.
According to the Washington Post, Justine Damond was just one of 987 people shot and killed by police in the US in 2017.
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