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Noor’s defense team responds to prosecution’s claims about ex-Minneapolis cop

September 12, 2018

Attorneys for the ex-Minneapolis police officer awaiting trial for the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond say prosecutors distorted and omitted details in attempting to paint him as a bad cop who frequently floundered under the pressures of the job.

Attorneys for Mohamed Noor singled out a traffic stop in the spring of 2017 in which Noor and his police partner pulled over a motorist for a minor violation and drew their guns. Prosecutors argued that Noor had pointed his gun at the motorists head, unnecessarily escalating the situation. But, his attorneys argued, prosecutors failed to mention that the motorist didnt immediately stop and made a furtive movement before the officers reached his car, putting them on guard.

These lies by omission and clear misstatements of fact actively mislead the reader and obscure the truth, attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold argued in a memorandum filed Wednesday in district court.

The memo came in response to a flurry of filings last week, in which Hennepin County prosecutors said that Noors behavior concerned psychiatrists and training officers about his fitness for duty long before he fatally shot Damond.

A spokesman for the county attorneys office declined to comment on Wednesday.

Noor was flagged by two psychiatrists during the pre-hiring evaluation in early 2015 after he exhibited an inability to handle the stress of regular police work and unwillingness to deal with people, the state argued.

Noor was charged in March with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Damonds death after responding to her 911 call about a woman in distress near her south Minneapolis home. He shot her from the passenger seat of his squad vehicle when she approached the driver side window. He became the first Minnesota police officer in recent memory to be charged with murder in an on-duty killing. He was fired from the force on the same day. His lawyers have said that he acted in self-defense. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has appealed the dismissal.

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