A Minneapolis jury has found a former police officer guilty in the 2017 fatal shooting of an unarmed woman minutes after she had called 911 to report a possible crime.
Mohamed Noor, the ex-Minneapolis officer charged in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk, was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter. He was found not guilty of intentional second-degree murder.
Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, had called police on the night of July 15, 2017, to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.
She was shot and killed by Noor, one of the responding officers.
Noor’s defense attorneys argued throughout the monthlong trial that he fired to protect his terrified partner after hearing a thump on the squad car in the alley and then seeing a figure by the driver’s side window raising an arm.
“It’s a tragedy, but it’s not a crime,” Noor’s attorney Thomas Plunkett told jurors on Monday.
Prosecutors countered that the thump was a story made up later and that Ruszczyk, approaching the squad in her pajamas that night, could not have been considered a threat.
They also presented evidence during the trial that Ruszczyk’s fingerprints were not found on the outside of the squad car, and they put two police use-of-force experts on the stand who argued that Noor was reckless in his decision to fire.
The jury of 10 men and two women got the case Monday afternoon after three weeks of testimony. They deliberated five hours on Monday and six on Tuesday.