A Somali-American police organization says it believes that “institutional prejudices” played a significant role in the conviction of ex-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.
The Somali American Police Association (SAPA) released a statement saying that the way the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case against Noor “reveals that there were other motives at play other than serving justice.”
On Tuesday, a jury of two women and 10 men found Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her south Minneapolis home. Because Damond was a dual citizen in the U.S. and Australia, the case gained international attention.
Noor, 33, testified that he and his partner heard a loud noise and that he fired his gun to “stop the threat” after seeing a woman outside the squad car raising her arm. Prosecutors raised doubts on whether there was a loud noise and argued that it was unreasonable for Noor to shoot Damond, who was unarmed and in her pajamas.
Noor is the first police officer in Minnesota’s history to be convicted of murder for a killing that happened on-duty. Immediately after Tuesday’s verdict, activists said that this circumstance is due, at least in part, because Noor is black and Damond was white.
As a result of this case, SAPA says it fears that there’ll be a devastating impact to police moral and the recruitment of minority officers across the country.
“And while historically it has not been uncommon for minority officers to receive differential treatment, it is discouraging to see this treatment persist in 2019,” the group’s statement said, adding: “Never the less, SAPA will continue fulfilling its mission of building trust among communities, neighbors and police.