Photo: Star Tribune via Getty Images
  /  10.21.2021

An ex-Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to nearly five years in prison on Thursday (Oct. 21) for fatally shooting a woman in 2017. Mohamed Noor, the former cop, was previously found guilty of third-degree murder and manslaughter for killing 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond and was sentenced to 12 12 years in prison.

However, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction last month, leaving only his second-degree manslaughter charge. At Thursday’s hearing, Hennepin County Judge Kathryn Quaintance sentenced Moor to 57 months in prison, the maximum penalty for the offense.

“You did shoot across the nose of your partner. You did endanger a bicyclist and residents of a community of surrounding houses on a summer Saturday evening,” she said. “One household was entertaining guests on a porch adjacent to the gunfire. These factors of endangering the public make your crime of manslaughter appropriate for high end of the guidelines.”

Noor has already served more than 29 months in prison and could be released early for good behavior, the Associated Press reports.

In 2017, Noor and his partner were dispatched after Damond called 911 to report a possible rape that she believed was happening behind her house. At his 2019 trial, Noor testified that he heard a loud bang in the alley near Damond’s house and said he and his partner feared for their lives. Damond appeared by the car’s driver’s side window, Noor said, and he fired a shot at her from the passenger’s seat.

Noor’s murder conviction and subsequent appeal was referenced throughout the case of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

On Thursday, Damond’s parents asked the judge to impose the harshest sentence, saying, “Our sorrow is forever; our lives will always endure an emptiness.”

Damond’s fiancé, Don Damond, also gave a statement via Zoom.

“The truth is Justine should be alive. No amount of justification, embellishment, cover-up, dishonesty or politics will ever change that truth,” he said.

Don also addressed Noor directly and said he forgave him for killing his fiancée and said she would have also forgave him.

“I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Damond’s forgiveness,” Noor said. “I am deeply sorry for the pain that I’ve caused that family. And I will take his advice and be a unifier. Thank you.”


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