The police officer who shot and killed unarmed Australian woman Justine Damond last July has turned himself in to authorities.
Ms Damond was wearing her pyjamas the night she was shot dead by US police officer Mohamed Noor from the passenger seat of his patrol car.
The killing prompted an eight-month investigation and, while many questions remain unanswered, it’s clear Ms Damond called 911 twice on Saturday night 15 July 2017, to report what she thought was an assault taking place behind her home. During her second call, she was assured that police were on their way.
Mr Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity were the responding officers.
While Noor has exercised his right to silence by refusing to be interviewed, his partner told investigators he was startled by a loud sound near the squad vehicle immediately before Ms Damond approached a car on his side.
No body cam evidence
Moments later, Mr Noor shot Ms Damond in the stomach. Both officers got out of the car to perform CPR after the woman fell to the ground.
Minneapolis police are supposed to wear body cameras and are required to have them them on while responding to all situations involving alleged criminal activity, as well as during encounters with the public. This is different to the situation in NSW where police are at liberty to turn the cameras on and off as they please.
However, neither officer had his camera activated, although they turned them on after the shooting. The dash cam in the police vehicle also failed to capture the incident.
Other complaints against officer
Mr Noor has only been in the police force for only a little more than two years and, during that period, has attracted three formal complaints. He was also sued earlier this year after an incident whereby he and other officers took a woman to hospital on mental health grounds. The suit asserted that the officers had violated the woman’s rights by entering her home without permission.
After the investigation into Ms Damond’s shooting death, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told the media: “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.”
“Instead officer Noor intentionally and recklessly fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life.”
Mr Noor was put on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
He has now turned himself in and charged with third-degree murder for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act while showing a “depraved mind”. He also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge which alleges he acted with “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk”.
His bail has been set at $US500,000.
If convicted of third-degree murder, he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Ms Damond’s family eagerly awaits the outcome of the matter.
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