Mohamed Noor's defense team files motion to allow him to avoid prison time

Photo Courtesy: Hennepin County Jail

Defense attorneys for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor have filed a motion that could allow Noor to avoid prison time after being convicted in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.

In court papers filed Thursday, Noor’s defense said they will seek a mitigated dispositional departure or a mitigated durational departure, moves that would allow Noor to forgo either part or all of a prison sentence and serve probation instead.

A jury found Noor guilty of murder and manslaughter for the death of Damond on July 15, 2017. Noor shot Damond in an alleyway behind her home on Washburn Avenue after she called 911 call to report a possible sexual assault.

In court, Noor said that he and his partner Matthew Harrity were startled when Damond approached their cruiser in the dark and slapped its side. Noor said they believed they were in danger and he made a split-second decision. However, prosecutors questioned whether the officers were startled by a slap. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy also wondered why the two officers were surprised to find a woman in the alleyway when the initial 911 came from a woman concerned about another woman.

Noor’s attorneys plan to present their arguments for the departures before his sentencing on June 7.