Jury selected to hear murder trial of ex-Minneapolis officer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A jury of 12 men and four women was seated Monday to hear the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman who called 911 to report a possible rape 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.
After a week of questioning and paring down an original pool of 75 people, the jury finalized Monday includes a firefighter and paramedic, an ob-gyn, a civil engineer, a grocery store manager, a restaurant host, a carpenter and a Homeland Security immigration officer. The jurors’ names were not revealed in court.
Six of the jurors are people of color, including two Filipino men, an Ethiopian man and a Pakistani woman. Noor is Somali American; Damond was white.
Twelve of those selected will end up deciding the case while four will be alternates. The 12 jurors who will deliberate will be picked at the trial’s conclusion.
One woman who was picked as a juror had an emotional reaction to the case last week and was asked to think over the weekend about whether she could serve on the jury. She said Monday she had some anxiety about the responsibility.
“There’s a huge life-altering decision that everyone’s confronted with and that’s overwhelming a little bit,” she said. Still, she said she could put her emotions aside and serve.
Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday.
The shooting of Damond, who was dressed in her pajamas, 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 acted in self-defense.
Damond, a 40-year-old life coach who was set to be married the month after her death, called 911 twice before Noor and his partner that night, Officer Matthew Harrity, arrived.
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.
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