Justine Ruszczyk’s shooter being released from prison in USA

The former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk is due to be released from prison next week, months after his murder conviction was overturned and he was sentenced on a lesser charge.

Mohamed Noor, 36, is expected to be released on Monday, according to Department of Corrections online records.

Noor was originally convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old US-Australian dual citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged. But last year, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction and 12½-year sentence, saying the murder charge did not apply to the circumstances of that case.

Justine Ruszczyk was shot dead by an American police officer in 2017. (Provided)

He was sentenced to four years and nine months for manslaughter.

In Minnesota, a well-behaved defendant is presumed to serve two-thirds of a sentence in prison and the remainder on parole. The DOC website says Noor will be on probation until January 24, 2024.

Justine’s father, John Ruszczyk, said the family was disappointed that Noor’s third-degree murder conviction had been overturned.

“His release after a meaningless sentence shows a great disrespect for the wishes of the jury who represented the communities of Minneapolis and their wish to make a statement about the expectations of the communities regarding the behavior and actions of the police,” Ruszczyk wrote. in response to questions emailed by The Associated Press.

Mohammad Nour
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was released from prison on Monday. (AP)

After his conviction, Noor began serving his sentence at Minnesota’s maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights, but the Star Tribune reported that he was moved to a facility in North Dakota in July 2019 for his own safety. . Department of Corrections spokesman Nicholas Kimball said Noor was still out of state, but did not specify where.

“For security reasons, we are unable to provide more details than what is available on the public website, which is the expected release date,” Kimball said.

It was unclear if Noor would return to Minnesota. His lawyer, Tom Plunkett, declined to comment, saying “at this point I just want to respect Mr Noor’s privacy.”

Ruszczyk’s murder angered American and Australian citizens and led to the resignation of the Minneapolis police chief. It also led the department to change its policy on body cameras; Noor and his partner had not activated theirs when investigating Ruszczyk’s 911 call.

Justine Ruszczyk with her fiancé Don Damond. (A current affair)

Noor testified at his trial in 2019 that he and his partner were driving slowly down an alley when a loud bang on their police SUV caused him to fear for their lives. He said he saw a woman appear at the partner’s driver’s side window and raise her right arm before firing a shot from the passenger seat to stop what he thought was a threat.

Ruszczyk had called police to report a suspected sexual assault in the alley behind his house.

Ruszczyk was a meditation teacher and life coach who was killed about a month before her wedding.

Her fiancé, Don Damond, declined to comment on Noor’s impending release, but said during Noor’s re-sentencing that he had forgiven the former officer, and he had no doubt Justine would have forgiven him as well. “for your inability to manage your emotions that night.”

John Ruszczyk said in his email to the AP that his family believes state investigators and the Minneapolis Police Department did not fully cooperate with the investigation into his daughter’s murder and that he was disturbed by the culture of the agency.

He said he believed the ministry agreed to use violence as a way to control difficult situations, which he says contributed to his death. He cited a recent report by the state Department of Human Rights that found the agency has engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination for at least a decade, including using force more often against people. of color.

Days after Noor’s sentencing, Minneapolis agreed to pay Ruszczyk’s family US$20 million ($28.8 million), considered at the time to be the largest settlement resulting from police brutality in Minnesota. It was topped last year when Minneapolis agreed to a US$27 million ($38.88 million) settlement in Floyd’s death just as Chauvin was on trial.

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