Wednesday April 3, 2019
By Paul Blume
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Scrutiny is already impacting jury selection in Mohamed Noor’s murder trial.
Tuesday, Judge Kathryn Quaintance dismissed six prospective jurors from the first group of 40 called to serve on the high-profile case. The decision was based exclusively on written answers provided to the lengthy questionnaires jurors filled out Monday.
One person had a friend who was a victim of a police shooting. Another wrote they are tired of police getting away with murder and then apparently included negative comments about Somalis. Juror no. 32 wrote it was an “unprovoked shooting,” claimed Noor was a fast-track hire and then again allegedly also included unwelcoming comments about Somali immigrants.
Jury selection will resume Wednesday morning with individual questioning. The court is looking for 16 fair and impartial jurors, who can keep an open mind even if they know some basic facts about the case. When it comes time for a decision, 12 will eventually deliberate and four will serve as alternates.
Also in court Tuesday, both sides argued about some evidence prosecutors eventually want to introduce. It involves newer Bureau of Criminal Apprehension high-tech imaging that generated a 3-D, animated fly-through of the shooting scene in the alley behind Justine Ruscyzyk Damond’s south Minneapolis home.
Prosecutor Patrick Loften contends the imaging will give jurors spatial awareness that still images and basic measurements can’t capture. Defense attorney Tom Plunkett, however, believes it doesn’t accurately depict the scene such as the lighting conditions and the technology remains unproven.
The animation was played in court showing Damond’s body lying a few feet away from Noor’s squad at the very end of the last driveway of the alley. She was barefoot. It also showed Noor’s partner Officer Matthew Harrity had gotten out of the vehicle after Noor fired and guided the dying 40-year-old to the ground.
Judge Quaintance also announced there will not be court on Friday, April 19 in order to give jurors a three-day weekend for Easter.