A former police officer in the U.S. city of Minneapolis was sentenced on Friday to 12 years and six months in prison for fatally shooting an Australian woman who had called police for help, according to news reports.
Mohamed Noor, 33, was convicted in July on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Noor was responding to her report of a possible sexual assault in an alley in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"A prison sentence only punishes Mr. Noor for a culture that he didn't create and, by all accounts, a culture that he would have liked to see change himself", defense attorney Thomas Plunkett said. "Good people sometimes do bad things".
Justine Damond died after she called 911 for police help and approached a police vehicle outside her house.
Before sentencing outside the courtroom, supporters for Noor gathered with signs.
He said the shooting was a mistake. "Working to save her life and watching her slip away is a feeling I can't explain". 'The depth of my error has only increased from that moment on. "But none of that, none of those words capture what it truly feels like".
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor reads a statement before being sentenced at the Hennepin County District Court, in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 7, 2019. Noor shot Damond when she approached his squad auto in the alley behind her home.
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Noor was convicted in April of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder, but acquitted of the most serious charge of second-degree murder with intent to kill.
These mugs shot obtained March 20, 2018 courtesy of the Hennepib County Sheriff's Office sho Mohammed Noor, a police officer in the USA state of Minnesota who shot dead an unarmed Australian woman last July was charged March 20, 2018 with murder, in a case that sparked an worldwide outcry.
The sentence was announced at the end of an emotionally-charged hearing where the fallen officer spoke to Ms Ruszczyk Damond's American fiance and Australian family.
Noor, his voice breaking several times as he spoke publicly about the shooting for the first time, apologized repeatedly to Damond and her family for "taking the life of a flawless person".
"This sentence honors the memory of Ms. Ruszczyk and allows Mr. Noor to continue to serve the city", his lawyers wrote, according to KTSP.
"Justine's death has left me incomplete - it is as if I have lost a limb or a leg", he said in the statement.
Noor previously testified he fired his weapon after he heard a bang on his squad auto, saw his partner was scared, then saw Ms Damond at his partner's window, raising her arm.
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The proposed sentence would last the duration of Noor's probation, which the attorneys didn't specify in their request, and also would include an annual period of community service. I hoped to make individual lives better.
"I love you and I'll miss you forever, Justine", Don Damond said, closing out his statement.
Lawyers for Noor, who was sacked after being charged in the case and has never talked to investigators about what happened, argue that he used reasonable force to defend himself and his partner from a perceived threat. Prosecutors argued there was no evidence Noor faced a threat that justified the use of deadly force.
In her closing arguments this week, prosecutor Amy Sweasy said "this case has tragedy compounded on top of tragedy".
"How do I express the impact of the loss my beloved, my dearest friend and my future wife to be", he said. A white SC police officer who fatally shot a black man in the back in 2017 got a 20-year sentence. She was shot dead moments later.
"Neither of our families will ever be the same again".
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