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Bail set for Mpls. officer in Damond case

22 March 2018

Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was charged with the shooting death of an Australian woman, Hennepin County Attorney Freeman announced Tuesday.

The latest account, released in the charges laid overnight against officer Mohamed Noor, only says that after being shot once in the abdomen she clutched at her side and said either "I'm dying" or "I'm dead".

Mr Noor faces up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge, and up to 10 years on the manslaughter charge, if convicted.

"That's evidence of a depraved mind in my view", Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Tuesday afternoon. Noor's bail is reportedly set at $500,000.

Police say last July, Noor shot Justine Damond in an alley behind her house as he was sitting in his squad vehicle.

"Officer Noor should not have been charged with any crime", attorney Plunkett said in a statement.

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"The facts will show that Officer Noor acted as he has been trained and consistent with established departmental policy", Mr Plunkett said. Charges say Noor fired recklessly "in disregard for human life".

During a news conference after Freeman's announcement, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo apologized to Ruszczyk's family and friends in Minnesota and Australia, where she was originally from.

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that the Minnesota Somali community supported the charges leveled against Noor. "They asserted that justice "'demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing those they are sworn to protect". The chief said legally he couldn't say whether Noor was sacked.

Mr Noor's lawyer Tom Plunkett said his client had been in the U.S. since he was a child and had co-operated with investigators.

"There were non-appearance concerns in the fall that Mr. Noor left the country or jurisdiction. but he was here", she said, adding that a witness offered to hide the defendant.

Freeman maintained Tuesday that the decision to charge Noor was his. The charges accuse Noor of third-degree murder for perpetrating an eminently unsafe act while showing a "depraved mind" without regard for human health.

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"Justine's family in Australia and the USA applaud today's decision to criminally charge Officer Noor with Justine's murder as one step toward justice for this iniquitous act", reads the full family statement. The incident took place not long after a jury found a police officer not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Philando Castile, also in the Minneapolis-St.

"Harrity said from the driver's seat he had a better vantage point to determine a threat on his side of the vehicle than Officer Noor did from the passenger side".

The death of Ms Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, caused an outcry in both the USA and Australia.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said it could not comment on specifics of the case.

Freeman said they had no choice but to convene a grand jury and subpoena the officers. Harrity said he told Noor to re-holster his weapon and activate his body-worn camera.

Damond's shooting was the third high-profile police shooting in Minnesota in recent years in which a prosecutor made a charging decision rather than relying on a grand jury, a process criticized for secrecy and for the rarity of officers being charged.

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Bail set for Mpls. officer in Damond case