MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor made his first appearance in court Wednesday on charges in the July shooting death of Justine Damond, stepping in front of the courtroom with a shaved head and quiet demeanor.
Just after 9:30 p.m. Noor was released from Hennepin County jail after posting bail. He walked out with his lawyer.
Noor was formally charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter Tuesday. At his first appearance, the judge set his bail at $500,000 or $400,000 if he abides by certain conditions, including no contact with his former partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, as well as no guns, no ammunition and the surrender of his passport.
Noor's attorneys, Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold, argued for him to be released without bail.
But, prosecutors countered that Noor is a flight risk because he is no longer employed by the Minneapolis Police Department and therefore has little reason to stay in the community if released from jail. They mentioned that during the investigation, they had credible information that Noor might have left the country--or at very least, the jurisdiction.
Plunkett said that was not the case. He said Noor has cooperated throughout the investigative process and that he came to Minnesota from Somalia as a young child and this is all he knows.
"He isn't going anywhere," Plunkett said.
His family said the display was hard to watch at times, with his defense team making the point that he's shown up to every appointment and cooperated with the investigation.
"He was not treated like an officer," one family member said. "[He was treated] like a regular criminal."
According to the criminal complaint, Noor and Harrity responded to Damond’s 911 call on July 15 about a possible sexual assault near her home. While driving through the alley, Harrity told investigators, he heard a thump on the back of his squad car and a person appears at his window.
Harrity claims he feared for his life and had his gun ready when Noor fired across him from the passenger seat, killing Damond.
Noor’s attorney is disputing the charges. He released a statement on Tuesday, saying, “The facts will show that Officer Noor acted as he had been trained and consistent with established departmental policy. Officer Noor should not have been charged with any crime.”
This is the first time murder charges have been filed against a police officer for use of force in Hennepin County. One former prosecutor says a conviction in this case won't come easy because the law is protective of police officers who put their life on the line every day.