Ex-Minneapolis police officer to be resentenced in death of 911 caller

MINNEAPOLIS — A former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman four years ago after she called 911 to report a possible rape behind her home will be resentenced on a lesser charge Thursday.

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In 2019, Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, KSTP reported. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison, the television station reported.

Noor’s third-degree murder charge was reversed last month by the Minnesota Supreme Court, WCCO reported. The state’s high court ruled that the third-degree murder statute did not fit the facts of the case, according to the television station.

Noor’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in February, KSTP reported.

Noor will now be resentenced on the second-degree manslaughter charge, according to the television station.

Damond was a 40-year-old dual U.S.-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married. Her death angered citizens from both countries and led to the resignation of Minneapolis’ police chief, according to The Associated Press. It also led to a change in department policy on body cameras, as Noor and his partner did not have their cams activated when they were investigating Damond’s 911 call, the AP reported.

On July 25, 2017, Ruszczyk called 911 just before 11:30 p.m. CDT to report what sounded like a possible sexual assault behind her house in southwest Minneapolis, KARE-TV reported. She called 911 a second time less than 10 minutes later, and at 11:41 p.m. Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, drove down the alley behind Ruszczyk‘s house.

Noor, who was in the passenger seat, fired his gun when Ruszczyk approached the squad car’s driver-side door from behind the car, the television station reported. The bullet killed Ruszczyk, according to KARE.

Noor remains convicted of second-degree manslaughter, with a presumptive sentence of four years under the state’s sentencing guidelines.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Noor faces up to four years in prison, WCCO reported.

Noor, who was fired after he was charged, has already served more than 29 months in prison, according to the television station. In Minnesota, defendants with good behavior typically serve two-thirds of their prison sentences and the remainder on supervised release. If Noor receives the four-year sentence, he could be eligible for supervised release by the end of the year, the AP reported.

Ruszczyk’s family is opposed to the resentencing.

“It’s essentially a re-traumatization for them,” the family’s attorney, Bob Bennett, told WCCO. “They think the 12 1/2-year sentence was appropriate.”