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US prosecutors cite Justine Damond shooting while charging Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin

Saturday May 30, 2020

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond. (AP)

The Minneapolis police officer captured on video kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed African American man has been charged with the same murder and manslaughter counts as the officer convicted of shooting dead Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced today that fired officer Derek Chauvin had been taken into custody and charged with the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd.
Mr Freeman, at a press conference, repeatedly referred to his successful prosecution last year of Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis police officer who shot dead Ms Damond in an alley behind her home in 2017.
"The Hennepin County Attorney's office is one of the few prosecuting offices in this country in the last five years to successfully prosecute a police officer for murder and we did that on behalf of Justine Damond," Mr Freeman told reporters.
"That's unusual. 
"We know how to do this."
A jury found Noor guilty last year of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and he is serving a 12.5-year prison sentence.
Mr Freeman announced Mr Chauvin's charges hours after riots broke out in Minneapolis and a police station and other buildings were set on fire.
Protesters demanded Mr Chauvin and three other police officers be charged.
Mr Freeman said the other officers were also being investigated.
It took Mr Freeman eight months to charge Noor, but just four days to charge Mr Chauvin.
The prosecutor said Noor's case did not have video of the incident shot by members of the public and surveillance cameras.
"Mohamed Noor was a very difficult case," he said.
"We didn't have the kind of video tape we need and there was all sorts of other evidence that took us a long time."

Murder charges over George Floyd death

Mr Floyd died on Monday after police were called to a Minneapolis shop claiming someone had attempted to use a counterfeit banknote.
Surveillance footage from a nearby cafe showed two officers arriving on the scene and walking to a parked car where Mr Floyd was in the driver's seat.
They put him in handcuffs and took him to their patrol car.
Mobile phone video showed officers kneeling on Mr Floyd on the ground and Mr Floyd pleading he could not breathe.
It was the latest fatal incident involving police and African American men in the Minneapolis-St Paul twin cities. Ms Damond's case flipped that.
Ms Damond, originally from Sydney, was white and Noor was born in Somalia.
Ms Damond, 40, was weeks away from marrying her American fiancé Don Damond on the evening of July 15, 2017.
She was home alone and just before midnight heard a woman's screams coming from an alley behind her house.
Ms Damond called 911 and when Noor's police vehicle pulled up in the dark alley she walked out barefoot and in her pyjamas.
Noor claimed he thought he was being ambushed and, while sitting in his police car, shot across his partner Matthew Harrity and fatally struck Ms Damond in the stomach.


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