Lawyers defending an ex-cop charged with murder in the death of a woman who had called 911 for help filed court papers Wednesday stating their client’s intention to plead not guilty in an upcoming May 8 court appearance.
According to MPR News, Mohamed Noor, 32, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, 40, on July 15, 2017.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Damond approached Noor’s police vehicle wearing her pajamas after calling 911 to report a suspected sexual assault taking place in the alley nearby her Minneapolis home.
Damond, unarmed and wearing pajamas, reportedly made her way toward the squad car from behind and began talking to the officers. Matthew Harrity, the other responding officer, recalled hearing a loud “slapping” noise on the exterior of the cruiser he was sitting in with Noor just before Damond approached the vehicle.
Noor, in the passenger’s seat, shot Damond through the driver’s side window. According to reports, he may have been in a heightened state of alarm from the suspicious sound when he fired his weapon, striking her in the torso. She died at the scene.
No body or squad cameras captured the incident.
Damond, a yoga teacher and Australian native, was engaged to be married the month after her death.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told the radio station there was “no evidence that Officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat or confirmed a threat that justified his decision to use deadly force.”
Noor’s court filing document—a Rule 9 disclosure—indicates that the defendant will argue self-defense and use of reasonable force at trial. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
[Feature image: Justine Damond/WCCO, YouTube video screenshot]