MINNEAPOLIS — A jury now has the case of a Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of an unarmed woman.
Mohamed Noor is charged in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australia citizen who approached his squad car minutes after calling 911 to report a possible rape behind her home.
The case went to the jury Monday after four weeks of jury selection and testimony. After alternate jurors were dismissed, the jury makeup is 10 men and two women. Half of the jurors are people of color.
Damond, a 40-year-old life coach who was due to be married the month after her death, was white.
The 33-year-old Noor is a Somali-Minnesotan who joined the force in 2015.
In his closing argument Monday, Noor's attorney Thomas Plunkett called Ruszczyk Damond's death "the perfect storm" of events that happened in milliseconds.
Plunkett began his closing argument by banging his lectern, shouting a profanity and saying, "Pow!"
Plunkett was recreating testimony by Noor that he heard a loud bang right before Damond approached his squad car, followed by his partner swearing and struggling to pull out his gun, right before Noor fired.
Plunkett told the jury: "Mr. Noor acted as he was trained. He acted as a reasonable police officer."
Meanwhile in prosecutors' closing argument, they asked jurors to question a key part of Noor's account.
Noor testified that he heard a loud bang on his car that made him fear a possible ambush right before Ruszczyk Damond appeared at his partner's window. He said he fired to stop a threat.
Prosecutor Amy Sweasy described the bang on the car as a theory that originated with other officers who arrived at the scene and were struggling to understand how the shooting could have happened. She says neither officer mentioned a noise until Noor's partner talked with state investigators three days later, and there's "no conclusive proof" Ruszczyk Damond ever touched the car.