Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Australia native Justine Damond in 2017 has been arrested in relation to her death.
A Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) warrant for the arrest of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officer Mohamed Noor was issued on Tuesday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Officer Noor, 32, turned himself in to police, and was booked into the Hennepin County jail at 11:16 a.m.
According to jail records, he faces charges of third-degree murder “perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind,” and second-degree manslaughter “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk” in Hennepin County District Court, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Damond, 40, called 911 on the night of July 15, 2017, and reported that a possible sexual assault was taking place in the alley behind her residence, the Chicago Tribune reported.
According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Officer Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, responded to Damond’s call.
Officer Harrity said that the officers were startled by a loud sound, and that immediately afterwards, Damond approached the driver’s door of the patrol vehicle.
Officer Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the patrol car, then shot Damond through the open driver’s window.
Damond died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The officers’ bodycams were not activated until after the shooting, and did not capture the shooting.
The Minnesota BCA conducted a full investigation into the incident, and turned over the case to Freeman for charging consideration on Sept. 12, 2017, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
In December of 2017, Freeman told a group of activists at a union holiday party that he had not been able to file charges against Officer Noor yet, because investigators had not done their jobs.
“I’ve got to have the evidence, and I don’t have it yet … Let me just say it’s not my fault. So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their job? Investigators. They don’t work for me. They haven’t done their job,” Freeman said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Freeman neglected to explain what investigators actually failed to do. The case hinged on Freeman being able to prove that Officer Noor acted unreasonably, which is not something decided by investigators.
Freeman’s blame was quickly addressed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who publicly defended the BCA, calling Freeman’s claims “destructive.”
“The BCA is asked to investigate some of the toughest, most complex cases involving officer-involved shootings,” the governor said in a statement, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I have the utmost confidence in their professionalism, integrity, and thoroughness. Impugning the quality of their investigations is destructive, and detrimental in our efforts to seek and obtain justice.”
Damon’s death also led to the ouster of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who defended Officer Noor’s training following the shooting, the Chicago Times reported.
Chief Harteau was on vacation when the incident occurred, and did not publicly address the issue for several days.
Soon thereafter, Mayor Betsy Hodges said she had lost confidence in Chief Harteau, and replaced her with Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Chief Arradondo quickly altered department policy, and required officers to activate their bodycams every time they responded to a call for service or conducted a traffic stop.
Damond’s family applauded Officer Noor’s arrest, and called it “one step toward justice for this iniquitous act,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“While we waited over eight months to come to this point, we are pleased with the way a grand jury and County Attorney Mike Freeman appear to have been diligent and thorough in investigating and ultimately determining that these charges are justified,” the family said in a statement. “No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that.”