A Muslim Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder, who shot dead an Australian woman when she approached his vehicle to report a possible sexual assault, has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.
Mohamed Noor was convincted in April of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszcyk Damond, a 40-year-old life coach and yoga instructor who was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia.
After calling 911 to report a possible rape on July 17, Damond, barefoot, wearing pajama pants and a pink shirt adorned with a picture of a koala mother and baby, approached Noor’s squad car in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.
Damond, a Somali American, drew his gun and shot across his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, who was sitting in driver’s seat, and out the car window striking Damond in the stomach.
Noor and Harrity testified that he was prompted to shoot because they were startled by Damond.
In a pre-sentence filing, Noor and his attorneys argued he should not be sentenced to prison, and filed a motion seeking to dismiss the murder and manslaughter charges. They suggested he instead turn himself in to a low-security correctional facility workhouse for a week on the date of Damond’s death and the date of Damon’s birth for the duration of his probation. They also requested he complete community service.
“This sentence honors the memory of Ms Rusczcyk and allows Mr Noor to continue to serve the city,’ Noor’s lawyers, Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold, wrote in their memorandum to judge Kathryn Quantance. “Just as importantly, it mandates that Mr Noor will continue to consider his action and the great loss they caused,” they continued.
Plunkett and Wold argued a lengthy prison sentence would worsen the tragedy and leave Noor unable to make amends for killing Damond.
Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis. The city agreed to pay $20 million after Noor was found guilty by the jury.
Noor was previously praised by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in 2016, who stated on Facebook, “I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.”
Yet, training officers warned Noor was unfit for duty before he fatally shot Damond. Just two months before he killed Damon, he pointed a gun at a motorist’s head, according to a court filing.
Last May, Noor was involved in a traffic stop when he got of his squad car with his gun draw. As he approached the motorist, “the first thing he did was point his gun at the driver’s head,” prosecutors wrote. “As in this case, the defendant used his gun to escalate a situation, introducing the element of deadly force in what should have been a routine, safe encounter with an unarmed citizen.”
Prosecutors also said officers who were training Noor reported instances in which he exemplified he was unable to handle the stress of the job and had poor reading comprehension. Noor was hired due to quota imperatives, despite being flagged by psychiatrists as psychologically unfit to be a police officer.
Noor worked in Muslim Democrat Representative Ilhan Omar’s district, which as Fox News reports, has become “the terrorist recruitment capital of the US.” More than half of all homicides in the state of Minnesota go unsolved, according to data compiled last year by the Washington Post.
Robert Spencer, the proprietor of Jihad Watch who has devoted his life to studying Islam, argues the crime rate is soaring in Minnesota because of the predominantly Somali population’s Koranic injunctions against trusting non-Muslims.
“They don’t talk to the police because they don’t trust them, because the police are not Muslims,” Spencer writes. “The Qur’an teaches that Muslims are ‘the best of people’ (3:110) and non-Muslims are ‘the most vile of created beings’ (98:6). But no one will admit that is the cause, and so the police keep trying ‘outreach’ programs to win them over. The result? Disasters such as the police career of Mohamed Noor.”
Omar’s district is more concerned about meeting a diversity quota than protecting its citizenry, Spencer argues.
“Identity politics kills. If there is any lesson to be drawn from the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, that is it,” he writes. “The city of Minneapolis was so eager to have a Somali Muslim police officer on the force that it hired a man who had been found incompetent to hold the job. Even worse, Minneapolis officials did not fire him even when he proved that he was indeed unfit to be a cop.”
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