Former police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced last week to spend 12 and a half years in a Minnesota prison for shooting Justine Ruszczyk, an unarmed woman he killed while on patrol in 2017. I don’t see how anyone could read the facts of the case and not conclude that Noor was guilty of negligent homicide. I don’t see how anyone could rationally complain that his sentence was excessive, either.
Ruszczyk, who was white—unfortunately this fact is relevant—and soon to be married, called 911 twice to report what she thought was a sexual assault going on in the alley behind her Minneapolis home. Officer Noor and his partner responded to investigate. Ruszczyk came out to the darkened alley to meet them, presumably to explain what she heard or saw, and was soon dead of a single shot, fired from the open patrol car window by Noor. At the trial, Noor said he feared for his life when he saw Ruszczyk approaching his cruiser and fired. “She could have had a weapon,” he said .
The reported crime, sexual assault, the officers were investigating did not involve a weapon. If Noor’srationale was enough to justify shooting Janet Ruszczyk, presumably an officer could justify shooting anyone, at any time.
Prosecutors argued that Noor acted unreasonably by firing at unknown figure out his window without shouting a warning, and that it amounted to third-degree murder. Well, of course it did. He was convicted by a jury in April . Twelve years for recklessly killing an unarmed woman who was trying to be a responsible citizen is not an unreasonable sentence, and is within the sentencing guidelines for the crime. Continue reading