The Latest: Fiance describes night Justine Damond died
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in the fatal 2017 shooting of an unarmed woman (all times local):
The fiance of an unarmed woman shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer in 2017 sobbed as he described hearing the news that she had died.
Don Damond was the first witness called by prosecutors in the trial of Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond. She called 911 to report a possible assault behind her home and was shot minutes after she approached Noor’s squad car.
Don Damond was in Las Vegas when he got a call from investigators saying Justine was dead. He says he learned from a second call that she had been shot by an officer.
Damond said calling Justine’s family in Australia to tell them of her death was the “worst phone call” he’s ever had to make. Members of her family also cried in the courtroom Tuesday as Damond testified.
Justine Damond had taken her fiance’s last name professionally before their marriage. She died a month before their scheduled wedding.
The defense attorney for a former Minneapolis police officer on trial in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman in 2017 says his client drew his gun to protect his partner and himself.
During opening statements Tuesday, Mohamed Noor’s attorney, Peter Wold, told jurors the fatal shooting of Justine Ryszcyk Damond was a “perfect storm with tragic consequences.”
Wold said that as Noor and his partner were responding to Damond’s report of possible rape behind her home, they saw a bicyclist and heard a “bang.” He says that in Noor’s mind it was a classic setup for what could have been an ambush.
Noor, who is Somali American, is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia.
Prosecutors charged Noor with second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, saying there was no evidence he faced a threat that justified deadly force.
A prosecutor says just 1 minute and 19 seconds passed from the time an unarmed woman hung up from a cellphone conversation with her fiance to the time she lay on the ground dying from a gunshot fired by a Minneapolis police officer.
That officer, Mohamed Noor, is on trial in Hennepin County accused of murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. The 40-year-old was shot after calling police to report a possible rape in the alley behind her home. Damond told her fiance in a phone call that police had arrived to take her report.
Noor and his partner were in a squad car in the alley. During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutor Patrick Lofton told jurors that Noor fired his gun across his partner through the driver’s side open window without saying a word. Lofton says there’s no forensic evidence that Damond touched the police vehicle before being shot.
The defense is expected to argue that Noor acted in self-defense.
The judge hearing the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman has reversed a ban on what video evidence may be viewed by the media and public.
Judge Kathryn Quaintance ruled Tuesday that body camera video introduced as evidence in the murder trial of Mohamed Noor will be shown to the entire courtroom.
Quaintance had earlier said such video would be shown only to the jury, citing a desire to protect the privacy of the victim, Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Quaintance said she has to follow the law even if she disagrees with it.
Noor shot Damond when she approached his squad care minutes after calling 911 to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home. The video doesn’t capture the shooting but shows efforts to save Damond.
With a jury in place, opening statements are set to begin Tuesday in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman.
Thirty-three-year-old Mohamed Noor, who is Somali American, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s death. Damond, a 40-year-old dual Australian-American citizen who was white, was killed in July 2017 after calling 911 to report a possible rape near her home.
It took a week to select a jury. After 75 prospective jurors answered questions about their views on Somalis and police officers, as well as their experiences with firearms and other issues, 12 men and four women were selected Monday to hear the case. In the end, only 12 will deliberate.
Six of the jurors are people of color.