Noor trial: Noor says no sounds from Ruszczyk before shooting; ends his testimony
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor testified Friday, April 26, that 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk said nothing as she approached his police squad, contradicting testimony by his former partner about what happened in the alley the night Noor shot Ruszczyk.
Officer Matthew Harrity, who sat in the driver's seat as Ruszczyk approached the squad from the back, testified earlier that he'd heard the woman "murmur" or make some kind of sound as she came up on the squad.
No longer on the force, Noor is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, in July 2017. She had called 911 to report what she thought was an assault happening behind her home.
Noor, one of the responding police officers, shot Ruszczyk through the open driver's side window of the squad as she approached. Noor's defense attorneys have argued he fired to protect his terrified partner after hearing a thump on the squad and then seeing a figure by the driver's side window raising an arm.
Prosecutors, who've rested their case, say the thump was a story made up later and that Ruszczyk, approaching the squad in her pajamas, could not have been considered a threat.
Two police use-of-force experts testified for the prosecution Wednesday, slamming Noor for firing in that situation. One said that "no reasonable police officer" would have perceived Ruszczyk as a threat that night, and that being startled doesn't justify deadly force.
During testimony Thursday and Friday, Noor said repeatedly he had to make a "split-second" decision to fire that night, perceiving a threat to him and to Harrity.
Noor told jurors Thursday that he and Harrity, sitting in the squad in the alley, were about to clear the call about a woman being attacked and move on when they heard a bang.
After the noise, he said he saw Harrity, who was in the driver's seat, reach for his weapon, that Harrity struggled to get the weapon out and had fear in his eyes. Noor said he saw a blonde woman in a pink shirt raise her arm, and heard Harrity exclaim, "Oh, Jesus" before firing.
Noor's also acknowledged on the stand that he did not see Ruszczyk's hands before he shot. On Friday, he admitted to prosecutor Amy Sweasy that Ruszczyk had to be past Harrity in the driver's side window in order for Noor to see her right arm raise, as he has testified.
As he finished his testimony Friday, defense attorney Thomas Plunkett asked Noor what would have happened if Ruszczyk had a gun in her hand when raising her arm. "My partner would have been killed," he replied.
Sweasy pressed Noor on why he turned his body camera on at previous calls that day including business alarm, but not on a report of a woman screaming. Noor said he didn't see it as a "serious call ... for us, it was a typical night."
This story originally appeared at: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/04/26/police-trial-shooting-justine-damond-ruszczyk-australia-noor-ends-testimony