Minneapolis to pay $20M to family of police shooting victim
The city agreed to pay $20M to the family of Justine Damond days after the cop who fatally shot her was found guilty
New York Daily News
MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $20 million for a settlement involving the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, the Australian-American woman who was shot by a police officer in 2017, just days after the cop was found guilty of murder.
The massive settlement, $2 million of which would be donated to a local charity, comes after two days of negotiations and was announced in a news conference Friday afternoon with Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council.
“This is not a victory for anyone,” Frey said, “but rather, a way for our city to move forward and I do believe that we will move forward together, united in the shared belief that such a tragedy should never occur in our city.”
Former officer Mohamed Noor shot Damond, who was originally from Sydney, the night of July 15, 2017 after she unexpectedly approached his cruiser.
The 40-year-old woman had called 911 to report an apparent sexual assault behind her building. As soon as police arrived, Noor and another officer were startled by a loud noise when she approached their squad car and he ended up shooting her, his partner testified in the trial.
Noor, a Somali-American, was convicted by a jury Tuesday of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He’ll be sentenced on June 7.
The settlement requires that $2 million be donated to Minneapolis Foundation’s Fund for Safe Communities, a program dedicated to fighting all forms of gun violence.
“I think it says a lot that the Ruszczyk family chose to stand in solidarity with the other victims of police violence and agreed as part of this settlement to contribute $2 million to the Fund for Safe Communities,” Councilman Jeremiah Ellison said in the news conference.
The settlement is more than four times higher the previous record for a police-related payment in Minnesota, which was $4.5 million for a non-fatal shooting in 2007, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Frey said the two major reasons behind the large sum are the “unprecedented” criminal conviction for third-degree murder and the fact Noor identified “no clear threat” before he opened fire.
Noor is the first police officer to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting in Minnesota’s history.
The Somali American Police Association said this week’s verdict is an example of how minority officers receive different and harsher treatment.
“SAPA believes the institutional prejudices against people of color, including officers of color, have heavily influenced the verdict of this case,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday.
Damond, a meditation teacher and yoga instructor, was wearing pajamas in her car before she walked to Noor’s cruiser the night of the shooting. The two cops performed CPR at the scene, but she did not survive. Noor and the city’s police chief were both fired after the incident.
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