Rusczyzk family looks to proceed with civil case while defense seeks delay

Bob Bennett, the attorney for Justine Damond Ruszyck’s family, left the federal courthouse Friday after the 80-minute hearing.

“It’s important to proceed with the case,” Bennett said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever hear from him.”

Bennett and his team are arguing their $50 million suit against Mohamed Noor and the city of Minneapolis should absolutely proceed, even as Noor defends himself against murder and manslaughter charges in the July 2017 shooting.

“I think the truth went,” Bennett added. “It was gone the time they decided not to put the body cameras on.”

Noor’s attorney countered, saying the former officer needs to worry about protecting his freedom in the criminal case where he is staring at prison time if convicted.

Noor’s attorney told U.S. District Court judge Tony Leung that if the judge doesn’t delay civil proceedings, Noor will take the fifth, meaning he will not answer any questions the Ruszyczk family has for him so as not to incriminate himself.

Joining Noor’s position in seeking a delay are the city of Minneapolis, as well as the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Nobody stopped to answer questions Friday morning.

“We don’t have comment,” said Noor’s Civil Attorney Matthew Forsgren. “We’ll let the court do its job.”

Noor, the man at the center of the legal drama, was not in court for the proceedings, though Ruszyczk’s dad did listen in via phone from his home in Australia.

Noor’s next criminal case appearance is scheduled for Sep. 27.

The two sides were battling over his record and Minneapolis Police Department history. Prosecutors detailed a sub-par police officer who struggled with training and failed to properly assess the threat when he pulled the trigger.

With Noor’s background and department oversight potentially on trial in the murder case, his civil attorneys and those of the city claim even more reason to wait given the interconnectedness of the two matters.