MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case Thursday against a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman who approached his squad car, and it appeared the ex-officer would soon take the stand to testify.
Mohamed Noor is charged with murder and manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond , a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. She had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home minutes before she was shot.
Noor refused to talk to investigators after the shooting, and he was fired from the force soon after being charged. It has been unclear whether he would testify, but after prosecutors wrapped up their case Thursday, defense attorneys asked Judge Kathryn Quaintance whether their expert witnesses could sit in the courtroom during Noor's testimony.
The death of Damond, a 40-year-old life coach who was engaged to be married, sparked anger and disbelief in both the U.S. and Australia, cost the city's police chief her job and contributed to the then-mayor's electoral defeat a few months later.
Noor's attorneys have argued that he and his partner were spooked by a thump or noise on their squad car — possibly Damond hitting the squad car as she walked up. Prosecutors have questioned the supposed noise, noting that investigators didn't find forensic evidence of Damond's fingerprints on the car.
They also questioned the timing of partner Matthew Harrity's first mention of the thump — not the night of the shooting, but a few days later, as he was being interviewed by state investigators.
Neither officer had their body cameras running when Damond was shot, something Harrity blamed on what he called a vague policy that didn't require it. The department toughened the policy after Damond's death to require that they be turned on when responding to a call.
Damond was white. Noor, 33, is a Somali American whose hiring two years before the shooting was celebrated by Minneapolis leaders as a sign of a diversifying police force in a city with a large population of Somali immigrants.
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