Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, whose murder conviction was overturned last month in the 2017 fatal shooting of an unarmed woman, was resentenced Thursday morning on a lesser charge.
Noor, 36, was sentenced to 57 months on second-degree manslaughter, a judge ruled Thursday. He already served more than 29 months, which means he faces about 2 years and four months in jail.
Noor fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, 40, in July 2017 when she approached Noor’s police car after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.
The case drew widespread media attention because Noor was thought to be the first Minnesota officer to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Prior to his case, the police officers involved in the high-profile shooting deaths of two Black men, Jamar Clark in 2015 and Philando Castile in 2016, had been cleared.
Here’s what we know.
Black cop’s murder conviction overturned:For Minneapolis’ Somali community, justice is complicated
Why was Noor’s murder conviction overturned?
Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter, and was he was sentenced to 12 ½ years on the murder count. But the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed his murder conviction last month, arguing it didn’t fit the crime.
The language for Minnesota’s third-degree murder notes that the action must be “eminently dangerous to others.” In Noor’s case, the lower court uniquely interpreted the charge to apply to a fatal act directed at a single victim, said Sarah Davis, executive director of the Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis.
So in September, the Supreme Court threw out the third-degree murder conviction, sending his case back to a lower court for sentencing on the manslaughter count.
Second-degree manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though state sentencing guidelines recommend between 3 ⅓ and 4 ¾ years for those with no prior criminal history.
Noor received a sentence of 4 ¾ years on Thursday. While prosecutors sought the maximum prison term, Noor’s attorneys had argued for a term of about 3 1/3 years, citing his good behavior during the 29 months he has already been in prison and the harsh conditions he faced while in segregation from the general prison population.
Who is Mohomaed Noor and what happened?
Noor, who is Somali American, joined the department in 2015.
In July 2017, Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen, called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. She approached Noor’s squad car in an alley, and Noor said he fired his weapon because he heard a loud bang on his vehicle and feared for his partner’s safety. He later admitted he was wrong for shooting Damond.
At his 2019 trial, Noor said he feared for his life after hearing a loud bang on his police car as he and his partner drove through an alley. After seeing a woman raise her arm near her partner’s window, Noor said he fired a shot to stop what he perceived to be a threat.
Noor apologized to Damond’s family during the sentencing, saying “I caused this tragedy, and it is my burden.”
What happened after the shooting?
After he was charged, Noor was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, which also responded by revising its body camera policy. Noor and his partner did not have their body cameras activated during the shooting. Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau later resigned.
Days after Noor was first convicted, Minneapolis agreed to pay $20 million to Damond’s family in what was believed to be the state’s largest settlement related to police violence at the time.
Since then, Minneapolis agreed to a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd, who was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, prompting nationwide outcry.
Contributing: The Associated Press