The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman after she called emergency services and reported a possible rape outside her home was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in prison – the maximum a judge could have imposed, but less than half of 12.5 years to which he was sentenced. before his murder conviction was overturned last month.
Mohamed Noor was originally convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 murder of Justine Ruschik Damond, a 40-year-old US and Australian citizen and yoga teacher. But last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Noor’s conviction and conviction, saying the third-degree murder law is inappropriate because it can only be applied when the defendant demonstrates a “general indifference to human life,” not when behavior is directed at a specific person, as was the case with Damond.
Judge Catherine Quintans, who also presided over Noor’s trial, granted the prosecutor’s request for the maximum penalty in accordance with the state’s guidelines for Noor’s manslaughter conviction of 57 months. However, she rejected the request for protection for 41 months, which is the lower limit of the range. With good behavior, Nur could be released under supervision by next summer. On the website of the state prison, the expected date of his release was indicated – June 27.
“Mr. Noor, I’m not surprised you were a model prisoner,” Quinns said. “However, I do not know of a single body that could provide such a basis for a commutation of the sentence.” She quoted Noor as “shooting through your partner’s nose” and endangering others on the night of the shooting in order to deliver the harshest sentence she could.
Noor, who was fired after being indicted, served more than 29 months and spent most of his time in an out-of-state institution. In Minnesota, well-behaved prisoners usually serve two-thirds of their prison sentences, with the remainder under supervision.
Noor’s appeal against his murder conviction was closely monitored in connection with the case of Derek Choven, a Minneapolis police officer convicted of the same charge of George Floyd’s death.
After the state Supreme Court overturned Noor’s conviction for third-degree murder, experts said they expected the same result from Chauvin, but that probably won’t have much of an impact, because Chauvin was also convicted of a more serious murder charge of the second. degree in Floyd’s death. Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
Noor’s lawyers, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, sought a second sentence for 41 months, citing Noor’s good behavior behind bars and the harsh conditions he faced for months in solitary confinement, away from ordinary prisoners.
Damond’s parents, John Ruschik and Marian Heffernan, also asked the judge to appoint the longest sentence. In a statement read by prosecutors, they called Damonde’s death “completely unreasonable” and said the Minnesota Supreme Court’s overturning of the “poorly written law” did not change the jury’s opinion that Nur had committed the murder.
“Our sorrow is eternal, there will always be emptiness in our life,” they said.
The victim’s fiancé, Don Damonde, gave his statement via Zoom. He began by praising prosecutors for their “reasonable application of the law” and criticized the State Supreme Court for overturning it, which, he said, “does not detract from the truth revealed in the trial.”
“The truth is, Justine must be alive. No amount of justification, embellishment, cover-up, dishonesty or politics will ever change this truth, ”he said.
But Don Damonde also spoke directly to Noor, saying that he had forgiven him and had no doubt that Justine would also have forgiven him “for your inability to control your emotions that night.”
Noor, dressed in a suit, tie and mask, appeared impassive as the testimony of the victim’s loved ones was read. Later, he briefly addressed the court, saying: “I am deeply grateful to Mr. Damonde for his forgiveness. I deeply regret the pain I caused this family. And I will take his advice and be a unifier. Thanks. ”
Noor, an American from Somalia, is believed to have been the first Minnesota officer to be convicted of murder while on duty. Activists, who have long called for officers to be held accountable for the use of fatal force, welcomed the murder conviction, but complained that it was handed down when the officer was black and the victim was white. Some doubted that the case was treated the same as the police shooting involving black victims.