Former Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, shot and killed Justine Ruszezyk on July 15th, 2017 after she had called 911 for help saying that she heard sounds indicating someone was assaulting a woman near her house in Minneapolis.
Noor, and his partner, Matthew Harrity, responded to the victim’s plea for help. When they arrived at the scene, the cops witnessed nothing unusual, and the driver of the squad, Harry started to clear the area when he heard a thumping sound on his vehicle and also a voice. Harris testified that these events startled him. At about that moment, Noor, a passenger in the team shot past his partner and killed Ruszezyk who was unarmed.
Neither of the officers was wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.
OUR FREE OPINION
Noor now appears to be contending that he feared an ambush when he shot his gun—an incredible claim.
However, defense lawyers have an easy job because only about 35 cops out of 1,000 have been convicted in situations analogous to this case in recent years. Police are permitted to use deadly force “to protect the peace officer or another from apparent death or great bodily harm.”
It is almost certain that the defense will argue that Noor reasonably believed the unarmed Ruszezyk presented a threat of death or great bodily harm to him or his partner. As outrageous as that claim is, juries almost always buy into this theory.
The charges against Noor include second and third-degree murder and negligent manslaughter.
Second-degree elements include the taking of a life of another with intent.
Third-degree murder elements include (without intent) causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree.
Second-degree manslaughter elements include causing the death of another by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.
Based on what is happening across the country in cases where cops shoot civilians, it seems likely that Noor will be acquitted of murder. The question is whether the jury will render justice and at least convict him of manslaughter.
We talked with deputy county sheriffs in multiple counties in Minnesota and without exception, these law enforcement officers thought that Noor should be convicted of at least manslaughter. They also opined that Noor should not have been a police officer.