MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The families of Justine Ruszczyk Damond and Mohamed Noor are reacting after the decision has been made in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer.
After about a day of deliberation, a jury has found Noor, who fatally shot Ruszczyk Damond in 2017, guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in her death.
WCCO’s Reg Chapman, who was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, says Noor’s father was seen covering his face with his hands in disbelief, while Damond’s family reportedly burst into tears as the ruling was handed down.
“We are satisfied with the outcome,” said John Ruszczyk in a press conference following the verdict. “We believe the conviction was reached despite the active resistance of a number of Minneapolis officers.”
Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Australia, died a month before her planned wedding to Don Damond, the first witness called to testify by prosecutors.
“This case is about Justine, and Justine lived to teach us about love,” Damond said. “In her life, she committed to transforming humanity and her legacy is continuing that work today.”
He says she was trying to help when she called police to report sounds of a woman in distress.
“Ironically, the Minneapolis Police Department emblem on the squad door reads, ‘To Protect with Courage and to Serve with Compassion,'” Damond said. “Where were these values that night?”
Calling Ruszczyk Damond the love of his life, Damond claims Noor’s actions on that July night show a “tragic lapse of care,” and a “complete disregard for human life.”
“The evidence in this case clearly show an egregious failure of the Minneapolis Police Department,” Damond said.
Nothing can bring her back, but Damond says he hopes the loss of her life is a catalyst for change in the city.
“I implore Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to do everything they can to ensure that these essential human values are not just words on a car door,” he said.
Damond family attorney Bob Bennett was also in court on Tuesday. He helped file a civil lawsuit for the family in excess of $50 million in federal court. That case is still pending, but will be discussed by Minneapolis City Council on Wednesday.
Bennett also represented the family of Philando Castile.