I last contributed to the Justine Damond case archive in June of 2019. The Damond case archive is here. As one might have expected, there is a new development: an appeal for a new trial. The Guardian reports:
The former US police officer who shot dead Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond in an alley behind her Minneapolis home in July 2017 claims his murder conviction ‘debased the criminal justice system’.
Mohamed Noor, who is serving a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence after a Minneapolis jury found him guilty a year ago of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, filed an appeal on Friday.
The 34-year-old is requesting a new trial.
‘Noor’s prosecution was a sordid series of events that debased the criminal justice system,’ his legal team wrote in a 69-page brief filed in the Minnesota court of appeals.
‘Noor’s convictions must be reversed and his case remanded for a new trial.’
As regular readers know, Mohamed Noor was the Minneapolis PD diversity hire, roundly praised by the then Leftist mayor as a shining light of Somali immigrant virtue and progress, the inevitable wave of the progressive future. Noor should have never been a police officer. Sent on a routine noise complaint one hot summer night, when Justine Damond, who made the call to police, approached his police car, Noor, in a panic, fired a round across the body of his partner, Matthew Harrity, striking and killing Damond, who presented no threat to them at all. For those unfamiliar with the case, take the link to the archive.
In his appeal Noor claims he was deprived of his due-process right when he was prevented from ‘providing crucial context’ for why he perceived an ambush.
He also claimed there was insufficient evidence to sustain his third degree murder conviction and overcome his defence that he reasonably used deadly force as a police officer.
The appeal also argues prosecutors ‘drew on demographic and gender biases to suggest that it was unreasonable for Noor to fear for his and officer Harrity’s safety’.
Absolute nonsense. Noor’s attorneys had an unrestrained opportunity to present their case. He was convicted because he had no cause to kill Damond. No reasonable police officer would have acted as he did. It took the jury only 90 minutes to decide his guilt. Of course, that kind of nonsense is the sort of thing one expects from defense lawyers in appeals.
Noor’s lawyers describe how prosecutors emphasised to the jury that Damond was ‘a Caucasian female’ living in a ‘peaceful, single-family, residential neighbourhood in south Minneapolis’.
‘The state repeatedly sought to shield from the jury the context for Noor’s perception that he and his partner were under ambush, even though that perception is precisely why Noor decided to use deadly force,’ his lawyers wrote.
‘Simply put, the state sought to deny Noor even the ability to defend himself.’
Again, utter nonsense. Damond did live in one of the lowest crime neighborhoods in Minneapolis, and she was white–an Australian immigrant–but race was not a factor in this case. Noor had no idea who he was shooting, and the officers had no idea of the race of the person that made the call to the police. If Damond had been any color other than white, she would have been shot just the same. There was nothing that would have suggested to a reasonable police officer they were being ambushed, and Noor and Harrity did not, for a moment, behave as though they feared imminent danger. In fact, they were completely unaware of their surroundings, and their tactics were so poor when Damond appeared at Harrity’s open car window, they were both scared to death. Harrity did not draw his gun or fire, but Noor did. It was not a race-based decision, but an “entirely unsuited to the job” decision.
In addition, the defense had every opportunity to convince the jury Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity were in legitimate fear for their lives, but the jury didn’t buy it. Consider this from Update 35:
A police use-of-force expert testified Wednesday that Mohamed Noor violated his police training the night he shot 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk and that ‘no reasonable police officer’ would have perceived Ruszczyk as a threat as she approached the squad in her pajamas.
Ruszczyk ‘did nothing wrong’ that night in the alley by her home, Crystal police Lt. Derrick Hacker told the court as he testified for the prosecution. ‘Police are approached daily. This happens routinely.’
Longo described it [Noor’s actions] as a ‘shoot first, ask questions later mentality.’
Hacker said he believes from his analysis of evidence that Noor had his gun out as he and his partner, officer Matthew Harrity, drove through the alley and that Ruszczyk was 4 feet from their squad vehicle when she was shot.
Hacker told the court Wednesday that being startled doesn’t justify deadly force, and that an officer must first have to identify an actual threat.
‘The most reasonable force in this situation would have been no force at all,’ he said. [skip]
Longo, the prosecution’s second use-of-force expert called Noor’s use of deadly force ‘unreasonable, unnecessary and disproportionate to any perceived threat.’
Longo dismissed the idea that Rusczcyk was somehow at fault for approaching the police vehicle.
‘At the end of the day,’ he said of Ruszczyk, ‘this is a citizen who called the police seeking a public service, who has every right to go out (to the squad) and be sure that her community is safe.’
I am, of course, pleased with the outcome of the Mohamed Noor trial. It is a particularly important outcome because it demonstrates that the police are not above the law. A not guilty verdict would have made it easier for incompetent and corrupt cops to actually get away with murder. It would have confirmed a two-tiered justice system: one where citizens were held to the law in the use of deadly force, and a second where police officers could kill on the flimsiest of pretexts, such as: My partner and I were scared senseless because we had no situational awareness, so I shot the first person I saw, just like any reasonable police officer would. As regular readers know, such a system is the status quo in Las Vegas.
Prior to, throughout the trial, and thereafter, various local and national race hustlers played the race card, an issue I addressed in Update 39:
Mohamed Noor’s race, religion, national origin, and immigration had nothing whatever to do with the charges against him, and nothing to do with the verdict. Any police officer killing an innocent of any possible description as he did would—should–have been charged and convicted. The evidence was that strong. He had no justification whatever for shooting Justine Damond, whose race, and gender, had nothing to do with the case. Yet the Leftist narrative is uncompromising: all Blacks are eternal victims, and the facts don’t matter.
While the police involved conducted themselves unprofessionally at virtually every opportunity, every American should hope that charges would be filed in similar circumstances, and that the verdict would be the same. But this holds only if actual justice is the goal. If social justice is the point, Noor would not only have never been charged, but proclaimed a hero and role model, as he was from virtually the moment he became a Minneapolis police officer.
The only rational way to inject race into this case would be to observe that Noor got the job substantially because he is a black man from Somalia. In a D/S/C ruled city like Minneapolis, he checked at least three major identity politics boxes: he was Muslim, an immigrant and black. It could only have been better for the Minneapolis political self-imagined elite if he were also female, or perhaps some sort of non-binary gender designation.
One would hope this frivolous and false appeal would go nowhere, but in a leftist state like Minnesota, there’s no way to tell. By all means, take the link to the archive, where you’ll find not only my analysis of the issues and the trial, but statements from jurors who made it clear they didn’t believe Noor or the Defense’s use of force expert. I’ll continue to report on the case as necessary.