MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KSTP) – Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison after being convicted in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017.
Jurors found Noor guilty of murder in the third degree and manslaughter in the second degree. He was found not guilty of murder in the second degree.
Damond had called 911 to report a possible crime occurring outside her south Minneapolis home in July 2017 when she was fatally shot by Noor while approaching the vehicle Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity were inside.
Noor was fired after being charged.
During the hearing, victim impact statements were read by the family and loved ones of Damond.
During his victim impact statement, Don Damond, Justine’s fiancé, read it as if it were written to her.
“I miss you so much every day, every moment,” Damond said. “I don’t understand how such a thing could happen to you and to us.”
He spoke of his fiancée’s wittiness, intelligence and ability to see the beauty of things “so often missed by others.”
“Every time I went in that alley, I saw you walking barefoot in your pajamas toward that police car. Toward that unexpected and violent death,” Damond said in court.
Damond’s mother and son also spoke, while representatives for the family of Justine read statements.
The court also heard from Noor.
“I have thought and prayed about this for the last two years, the time since I took the life of Justine Ruszczyk,” he said. “I’ve thought a lot about Ms. Ruszczyk before the trial and more so in the last month. I’ve also been thinking about all of the other lives that have changed and continued to be changed by this event. Neither of our families will ever be the same again.”
In his statement to the judge, Noor spoke about the night of July 15.
“When I walked around and saw Ms. Ruszczyk dying on the ground, I saw horror. Seeing her there, I knew in an instant that I was wrong,” he said. “The depth of my error has only increased from that moment on. Working to save her life and watching her slip away is a feeling I can’t explain.”
Noor also spoke of becoming a police officer to serve his community and the pride he took in wearing a uniform.
“I tried every day to have compassion for people in their situation in life and hoped to make individual lives better. That was my hope when I joined, and that was my mission after I became a police officer,” he said. “Taking a life so tragically goes against all of that.”
Noor’s attorneys issued a statement following sentencing Friday.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision to send Mohammed Noor to prison for 150 months,” it read. “The tragedy surrounding this case has only deepened. We have concerns with the process that will need to be addressed. We are not done fighting for Mohamed Noor.”