Noor trial: American jury selection foreign to Australian media

Jury selection is expected to wrap up Friday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an Australian native, in an alley behind her home in 2017

Selecting the jury has taken most of the first week of the trial as attorneys work to narrow down a pool of 75 prospective jurors to 16—12 jurors and four alternates. 

Twenty-four prospective jurors ended Thursday packed into the jury box, with extra seats added in front. 

Noor’s defense attorney, Tom Plunkett, questioned the jurors about their life experiences. He emphasized job training, asking the jurors whether they were ready to do their jobs effectively on day one. It appeared to be a strategy aimed at addressing the controversy over Noor’s police training and whether he was fully prepared to wear the badge when he fatally shot Damond. 

The whole process of American jury selection is foreign to the Australian media that has descended on Minneapolis because of Damond’s family roots on the other side of the globe. 

FOX 9 reporter Paul Blume talked with Australian journalist Alexis Dash, who is covering the case for Channel 9 Australia, about the differences between the two countries’ court systems. 

“Compared to what I’ve covered back in Australia, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Dash said. “I think the way they delve into these personal life experiences of each potential juror is just incredible. You almost walk out of the courtroom feeling like you know these people personally.” 

Dash was asked what she is hearing from viewers back in Australia about the U.S. legal system. 

“By and large the feedback is actually quite similar to what the potential jurors said, which is that they just can’t fathom how someone who calls 911 for help gets shot.” 

Questioning for the prospective jurors resumes at 9 a.m. Friday. Opening statements will likely begin on Monday.