MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — A month after Minnesota’s top court tossed his murder conviction, Mohamed Noor has been resentenced to serve a little over two more years in prison for fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
The former Minneapolis police officer was back in the Hennepin County Courthouse Thursday morning where Judge Kathryn Quaintance sentenced him to 57 months in prison on his second-degree manslaughter charge. He’ll get credit for already serving 908 days in prison.READ MORE: MN Supreme Court Orders Ex-MPD Officer Be Sentenced For 2nd-Degree Manslaughter
According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, that means Noor’s anticipated release from prison is June 27, 2022.
In Minnesota, offenders serve a minimum of two-thirds of their sentence in prison and a maximum of one-third of the sentence in supervised released. The exceptions are if someone is granted parole, or the sentence is life or life without the possibility of release.
Ruszczyk Damond’s fiance, Don Damond, gave a victim impact statement from Australia via Zoom before Noor’s sentencing. It was focused on forgiveness.
“Given her example, I want you to know that I forgive you, Mohamed,” he said. “All I ask is that you use this experience to do good for other people. Be the example of how to transform beyond adversity. Be an example of honesty and contrition. This is what Justine would want.”
Don Damond did not say what he thought the court should do. Other statements from family members were in favor of a longer prison sentence.
WATCH: Don Damond gives victim impact statement.
Noor also spoke briefly before his sentencing, responding to Don Damond’s statement.
“Your honor, I just want to say that I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Damond’s forgiveness. I’m deeply sorry for the pain that I’ve caused that family and I will take his advice and be unified. Thank you,” Noor said.
Prosecutors asked the court for a 57-month sentence, the highest possible, arguing the case is more serious than other manslaughter cases because Noor “wore the badge.”
Noor was seated with his legal team dressed in a suit and a required mask; he kept his hands folded in front of him most of the sentencing.READ MORE: Judge Approves $20M Settlement For Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s Family
Before handing out the sentence, the judge read the same questions she presented at the sentencing in 2019, concerning what would change among Minneapolis police officers, the culture, and public safety. She said the jurors raised the questions back then, and the questions remain unanswered.
“How will this be prevented from happening again? Why are officers more concerned about their personal safety than the safety of the public, especially in such a low-crime neighborhood? Why should a civilian be afraid of approaching a squad car?” Quaintance said.
In June 2019, Noor was sentenced to 12 1/2 years on the murder count and had been serving most of his time at an out-of-state facility. The Minnesota Supreme Court last month tossed Noor’s murder conviction and sentence, saying the third-degree murder statute didn’t fit the facts of the case. He remained convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
Ruszczyk Damond called 911 in July 2017 after hearing what she thought was an assault outside her south Minneapolis home. Officer Mohamed Noor and his partner responded.
He testified he was startled by a bang sound on his squad car, and he then shot Ruszczyk as she approached the door.
Revered for her bright and loving personality, Ruzczyk’s death was a shock. She was a 40-year-old dual U.S.-Australian citizen and yoga teacher, and engaged to be married.
The attorney for Ruszczyk’s family says they strongly disagree with the murder conviction being thrown out.
“It’s essentially a re-traumatization for them,” the family’s attorney, Bob Bennett, said. “They think the 12-and-a-half year sentence was appropriate.”
Noor’s attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, have asked for a 41-month term, saying the low end of the range would reflect Noor’s good behavior behind bars and the harsh conditions he’s faced during several months in segregation from the general prison population.
Noor, who is Somali American, was believed to be the first Minnesota officer convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Activists who had long called for officers to be held accountable for the deadly use of force applauded the murder conviction but lamented that it came in a case in which the officer is Black and his victim was white. Some questioned whether the case was treated the same as police shootings involving Black victims.MORE NEWS: WCCO Exclusive: Juror On Mohamed Noor Trial Talks For The First Time