Court upholds Minneapolis cop’s conviction in Damond case

Published 5:11 pm Monday, February 1, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — A divided Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor’s murder conviction in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

Noor is serving 12 1/2 years in prison in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, whom he shot once in the stomach when she approached his patrol car in the alley behind her home.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Noor challenged his third-degree murder conviction, a charge applicable in cases “for perpetuating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind.”

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Judges Louise Dovre Bjorkman and Michelle Larkin both ruled that Noor’s actions met the legal threshold for a “depraved mind” when he shot Damond from inside his patrol vehicle. But Judge Matthew Johnson disagreed, saying he would have reversed Noor’s murder conviction and sent his case for sentencing on the lesser second-degree manslaughter charge.

On appeal, Noor’s attorney Thomas Plunkett argued that the depraved mind element wasn’t fulfilled because Noor was fulfilling his duties as an officer, acted in a split second, and directed his actions at a specific person.

Noor can ask the state Supreme Court to hear his case, although there’s no automatic appeal, meaning the court can decline to take it.