Thursday 17 October 2019

Minneapolis to pay 20 million dollars to family of 911 caller killed by police

Noor testified that he fired to protect them from a perceived threat.

A memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP)
A memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP)

By Amy Forliti, Associated Press

The city of Minneapolis will pay 20 million US dollars (£15 million) to the family of an unarmed woman fatally shot by a police officer when she approached his squad car after calling 911 to report a possible crime.

Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council members detailed the settlement just three days after a jury convicted Mohamed Noor of murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

The dual citizen of the US and Australia had called 911 to summon officers in the middle of the night to a possible rape in the alley behind her house.

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Mohamed Noor after he was convicted (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/AP)

Noor and his partner were rolling down the alley in a police SUV when they say they were startled by a loud bang on the vehicle.

Noor testified that he fired to protect them from a perceived threat. Jurors took about 11 hours to reach a verdict after hearing three weeks of testimony.

Ms Damond’s family had filed a lawsuit seeking more than 50 million US dollars (£38 million), alleging that her civil rights were violated.

Mr Frey said the city moved quickly to settle in part due to Noor’s conviction for third-degree murder, as well as the officer’s failure to identify a threat before he used force.

“This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward,” he said.

The settlement calls for Ms Damond’s family to donate two million dollars to a local foundation’s fund aimed at addressing gun violence.

The death of Ms Damond, 40, came a month before she was due to marry.

Noor, 33, who had trained to become a police officer in a mid-career switch, was fired after he was charged.

He is in custody awaiting sentencing in June. Sentencing guidelines call for as many as 15 years in prison on the murder charge, though judges can depart from the guidelines.

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