MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Members of the Somali-American community are speaking out after former Minneapolis Police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for shooting and killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

A number of people came together in the lobby of the Hennepin County Government Center as the sentence was read, holding up signs defending Noor.

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They said his conviction was a sign of racism in America and that sentencing him to prison time was unfair.

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“There are a lot of anxieties put on the black Muslim cops,” Ahmed Nur said. “There will be a situation where there is an imminent threat and they won’t use their gun because they’ll say ‘OK, I don’t want the same thing that happened to Noor to happen to me.'”

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A spokesperson for the group Justice For Justine told WCCO they felt the sentence was appropriate for the crime, but they feel more needs to be done to reform the justice system.

“It doesn’t matter whether he spends one year or 12 years in prison,” Todd Schuman said. “None of these sentences can bring Justine back for us.”

Justice For Justine released a statement after the sentencing, saying that, while the punishment represents “an integral part of bringing more accountability to our policing system,” more needs to be done.

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“While Judge Quaintance has handed down Officer Noor’s sentence, we the people get to decide an appropriate sentence for our justice system. We call on Governor Walz to follow through on his promise to audit the BCA and issue a public report on its deficiencies and necessary remedies. We call on Chief Arradondo to discipline officers who made false or misleading statements to investigators. We call on Mayor Frey to renegotiate the police federation contract to diminish the influence of this toxic organization on police culture. And we call on acting Hennepin County Attorneys David Brown and Lolita Ulloa to do what Mike Freeman refused to do and re-open the investigations into the deaths of Jamar Clark and all other police violence victims.”

Kate Raddatz