MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor will spend 12 and a half years in prison for the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
On Friday morning, the judge brought down the sentence for Noor’s charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection to the July 2017 death of Ruszczyk Damond. He was given credit for 41 days of time already served.
The sentence came down after a statement from Noor.
“I’ve thought and prayed about this for two years, since the time I took the life of Justine Ruszczyk,” he said. “I’ve also been thinking about all the other lives that have been changed, and continue to be changed after this event. None of the families will ever be the same again.”
Noor said he took great pride in being a police officer and said he hoped to make lives better.
“Taking a life so tragically goes against all of that. I’ve lived with this and will continue to live with this. It is my burden. I wish I could relieve that burden others feel of the lost I’ve caused,” Noor said. “I will think of Miss Ruszczyk and her family forever.”
Noor apologized to the family and talked briefly about the evening of the incident.
“The moment I pulled the trigger, I felt fear. The moment I walked around and saw Miss Ruszczyk dying on the ground, I felt horror,” Noor said. “I knew in that instant that I was wrong.”
Noor closed his statement by saying, “I have to accept that I caused this and will live with this for the rest of my life.”
There were also numerous emotional victim impact statements, including from Justine’s fiancé, Don Damond.
“I miss you every day. Every moment. I’m not sure how such a thing could happen to you, to us,” Don Damond said.
He expressed regret for asking Justine to call police that night.
“I love you and I’ll miss you forever, Justine,” Don Damond said, closing out his statement.
His son, Zach, talked about the special woman who made their house a home, and how he now carries a deep and heavy weight around because she’s not here.
“Justine cared for me and loved me unconditionally. I felt like I belonged in her presence. She made me feel alive,” Zach Damond said. “The harsh reality of what our life now is I know come home only to remember the meaningful memories of her welcome at the door.”
A statement was also read from Justine’s father.
“Justine’s death has left me incomplete. It’s like I left a limb,” John Ruszczyk said. “I will never be whole.”
John Ruszczyk requested Noor receive the maximum sentence permitted under law.
Before sentencing outside the courtroom, supporters for Noor gathered with signs.
In May, it took the jury roughly 10 hours to find Noor guilty in the shooting death. Weeks after the conviction, Noor’s attorneys later filed a motion asking the sentencing judge for no prison time.
“The Grounds for the dispositional departure are his particular amenability to probation, cooperation, attitude in court and remorse,” Noor’s attorneys argued in the motion.
On the night of the shooting, Damond had called 911 about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her south Minneapolis home. In court, Noor testified that he shot Damond after a hearing a loud noise and seeing a woman lift her hand outside the squad car. Prosecutors disputed there was a noise and argued that Noor had no reason to shoot a 40-year-old yoga teacher in her pajamas.
Because Damond was a dual citizen in the U.S. and Australia, the case gained international attention.
Noor will serve out his time at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. He’s expected to be released on Aug. 30, 2027. In addition to prison time, the sentence also includes a $6,000 fine.