Mohamed Noor, the US police officer accused of murdering Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk, is likely to plead not guilty.
As per documents filed by the defendant’s lawyer, it appears that Noor will argue that he shot Damond Ruszczyk in self-defence and used reasonable force to do so.
Damond Ruszczyk, 40, died outside her Minneapolis home, where she lived with her fiancé, after she was shot by Noor late at night on July 15, 2017. She had called 911 minutes before to report a potential sexual assault in the alley behind her home.
According to Matthew Harrity, a police officer who also responded to the call, Noor was startled by a loud noise as Damond Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side of their police car. Noor then shot Damond Ruszczyk more than once while remaining in the passenger seat of the police car.
The US police state that officers present did not have their equipped body cameras turned on until after the shooting. The incident bought a flurry of local protests & international attention, resulting in police chief Jane Harteau losing her job.
In the past year, Damond Ruszczyk’s family have campaigned repeatedly for justice and tighter police regulations. They also established a charity, the Justine Damond Social Justice Fund, for “charitable causes supporting local justice that were important in her heart.“
In March, Noor was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. At the time, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that Noor’s actions displayed a “disregard for human life“.
Noor has pleaded the fifth, remaining silent both publicly and with investigators. His next hearing is currently scheduled for 8 May. If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Image: Justine Damond Ruszczyk/LinkedIn