Ex-cop Noor sentenced to 12.5 years in shooting death of Justine Damond

By Nicholas Sakelaris

June 7 (UPI) -- Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison Friday for the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance gave Noor the sentence after a 2-hour hearing.


"He does not take personal responsibility ..." Quaintance said. "He has not acknowledged that he could have handled the situation any other way."

Noor said he feared for his life when he shot Damond in July 2017 while responding to a 911 call about a sexual assault behind the woman's home. He was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He said he saw a woman lift a hand outside his police car and said he heard a noise. Prosecutors said there was no noise and there was no reason to shoot a 40-year-old yoga teacher who was wearing pajamas.

Defense attorneys argued that Noor was in good standing in the community, served as a youth soccer coach and is a devoted father to a special needs son.

"I've thought and prayed about this for two years, since the time I took the life of Justine Rusczyk," Noor said as he read a statement in court. "I've also been thinking about all the other lives that have been changed, and continue to be changed after this event. None of the families will ever be the same again."


Noor said he took great pride in being a police officer.

"Taking a life so tragically goes against all of that," he said. "I've lived with this and will continue to live with this. It is my burden. I wish I could relieve that burden others feel of the loss I've caused. I will think of Miss Ruszcyk and her family forever."

The victim's fiance, Don Damond, was away on a business trip when he got a phone call from her saying she heard noises outside their home. He told her to call 911 and "all will be well."

In their last phone call, she said the police had arrived but they failed to respond to the follow-up messages and phone calls.

He later got a phone call from a Minneapolis police officer saying there had been a shooting and his fiancee was deceased. He wasn't given much information.

Justine Damond was Australian and Noor was from Somalia so the case garnered international attention. The shooting of a white woman by a black police officer also raised racial issues in the Minneapolis community.

Noor must serve two-thirds of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

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