Following the death of Justine Damond last summer, Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with her death, NBC News reports.
On the evening of July 15, 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk, who had already begun using her fiancé Don Damond’s last name, called 911 twice to report a possible sexual assault taking place in the alleyway behind her Southwest Minneapolis home. Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, arrived in an SUV. Damond, who is white, approached the vehicle, and Noor, who was seated in the passenger seat at the time, reportedly fired his gun through the driver's side window, killing Damond.
While both officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting, neither camera was turned on at the time, nor was another camera in the police vehicle. Harrity later told the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he was startled by a loud sound near the vehicle and that immediately afterward is when Damond approached.
Following Damond’s death, Noor was placed on paid administrative leave until he was arrested on Tuesday morning, TwinCities.com reports, after turning himself in.
During a press conference later that day, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman offered his condolences to Damond’s family, commenting, “To lose a family member to violence is always wrenching and painful, but to lose it when she was acting as a concerned and caring citizen, at the hands of a person she called for help, is inexplicable.”
Following his arrest, the criminal complaint against Noor has been unsealed by a judge.
“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 complaint states. “Instead, Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun.”
Both Noor and his lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, have declined to comment publicly on the case, and Noor has declined to answer questions from investigators.
Following news of Noor’s arrest, the victim’s father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiancé issued a joint statement on behalf of Justine’s loved ones.
"No charges can bring our Justine back," the statement read. "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that."
Damond was one of at least 971 people fatally shot by a U.S. police officer in 2017, according to a Washington Post database. Three days before Christmas, a small memorial honoring Damond appeared outside a Minneapolis police headquarters, but was later removed by police after white nationalist group Identity Evropa took credit for the act.
“I condemn the perpetrators and their tactics in the strongest possible terms,” Minneapolis Mayor-Elect Jacob Frey said. “Identity Evropa and those who share their values have no place in our city. Hate has no place in Minneapolis. Period.”
[Header Photo: Marchers look on as Don Damond, fiance of Justine Damond, greets demonstrators outside his home on July 20, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several days of demonstrations have occurred after the death of Justine Damond, who was killed late Saturday by a police officer responding to her emergency call about an incident near her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty Images.]