Minnesota officer charged with murder

Mohamed Noor

Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Damond turns himself in; charged with 3rd-degree murder

Mohamed Noor, 32, who has been charged in the fatal shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July last year, did not enter a plea on the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges when he appeared in court in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Matthew Harrity, the officer driving the police auto from which Noor shot, said he was startled by a loud sound and both officers "got spooked" when Damond appeared out of nowhere, prosecutors said.

Mr Plunkett told Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance Mr Noor wasn't a flight risk, had a young family and had "no connections to any place other than his birth". He has turned himself in and has been booked into jail with a $500,000 bail.

Noor fatally shot Damond on July 15, 2017 while responding to her call of a possible sexual assault in progress.

Harrity claims both he and Noor got spooked when Damond approached their squad vehicle in the alley that night.

A criminal complaint says both Noor and partner Matthew Harrity had pulled guns before Damond approached them - only Noor fired.

In a statement, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says Officer Mohamed Noor's time with the police department ended Tuesday.

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"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", Freeman said. He faces a potential prison sentence of 25 years.

The grand jury was convened about a month after Freeman was captured on video at a holiday reception in December, complaining that investigators hadn't brought him enough evidence to charge Noor.

"Ms Damond Ruszczyk put her hands on the wound on her left side and said 'I'm dying, ' or 'I'm dead, '" Freeman said. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that", the statement said.

Damond's neighbor Sarah Kuhnen said in a statement that neighbors were "relieved" Noor was being prosecuted.

"This would have been done a good deal quicker if we had the cooperation of all the Minneapolis police officers", Freeman said.

Mr Noor'snext court appearance is set for May 8.

Prosecutor Mike Freeman announced the charges on Tuesday.

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The shooting led to the firing of Police Chief Janee Harteau. In response to the murder charge, his lawyer Tom Plunkett argued that prosecutor Freeman had jumped to conclusions on the case. He also noted that he expects all Minneapolis police officers to fully cooperate with the case. He told investigators Damond approached their squad auto from the rear driver's side then saw Officer Noor with his right arm extended.

Damond's shooting ended up as global news last summer, as she was a dual citizen of the US and Australia.

The police officers did not have their body cameras turned on at the moment of the shooting.

But after finding nothing, they turned the lights back on, radioed that the situation was under control, and chose to provide back-up to officers on another call.

The grand jury concluded its investigation on Monday.

Damond's shooting was the third high-profile police shooting in Minnesota in recent years in which a prosecutor made a charging decision rather than relying on a grand jury, a process criticized for secrecy and for the rarity of officers being charged.

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