Jury selected to hear murder trial of ex-Minneapolis officer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A jury of 12 men and four women has been seated to hear the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home.
Mohamed Noor, 33, is charged with murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of Australia and the U.S. who was shot when she approached his squad car.
Last week, prosecutors and defense attorneys began paring down an original pool of 75 prospective jurors. After a week of questioning, the final jury was picked Monday morning. Twelve of those selected will end up deciding the case while four will be alternates.
The jury includes six people of color. Noor is Somali American.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday, to give the judge in the case time to consider and rule on some motions that are still pending. One pending motion is a media request to allow public access to graphic evidence that will be shown to the jury. Noor is also challenging the evidence restrictions.
The shooting of Damond, a 40-year-old life coach who was engaged to be married, drew international attention. Prosecutors say there is no evidence Noor faced a threat that justified deadly force, while Noor's attorneys plan to argue that he used reasonable force and acted in self-defense.
Noor's partner on the night of the shooting, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was driving a police SUV when he heard a voice and a thump and caught a glimpse of someone outside his window. Harrity said he was startled and thought his life was in danger. He said he then heard a noise and turned to see that Noor, in the passenger seat, had fired his gun past Harrity and hit Damond through the driver's side window.
The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no squad car video.
Noor has refused to talk to investigators and his attorneys haven't said whether he will testify at his trial, which could last weeks.