Justine Damond: Minneapolis Police Officer to Plead Not Guilty to Murder

Mohammed Noor, a police officer who shot dead Australian woman Justine Damond last July, is expected to plead not guilty.

The Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering Australian woman Justine Damond will plead not guilty and fight the charges at trial, court documents suggest.

Mohamed Noor, 32, will seek to argue self-defence and reasonable force, according to court documents seen by the Guardian.

The documents were filed by Noor’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, on Wednesday in Minneapolis, and contain no other detail about his defence.

Noor is facing charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Damond.

Two officers had attended her home in response to a 911 call. Damond had reported a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

As police were preparing to leave, Damond had approached the Ford Explorer police vehicle.

Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, allegedly shot her through the open driver’s side window.

Noor has invoked his right to silence but the second officer, Matthew Harrity, told a grand jury the pair were shocked by Damond’s approach.

Prosecutors said Harrity spoke of hearing “a voice and a thump somewhere behind him on the squad car and caught a glimpse of a person’s head and shoulders outside his driver-side window”.

The officers’ body cameras were not turned on until after the shooting.

The shooting provoked widespread condemnation of police. It sparked street protests and led to the sacking of the police chief. Damond’s family has pushed for changes to police procedure, to ensure video recordings are captured of such incidents, and a group of her neighbours have helped to form an advocacy group, Justice for Justine.

Last month, the Hennepin county attorney, Mike Freeman, began laying out their case against Noor.

“To lose a family member to violence is always wrenching and painful,” Freeman said. “But to lose it when she was acting as a concerned and caring citizen, and at the hands of the person she called for help, is inexplicable.”

Noor’s next hearing is scheduled for 8 May.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/26/justine-damond-minneapolis-police-officer-to-plead-not-guilty-to