$20 million. That’s how much the family of a woman who was shot to death after she called 911 to report a possible rape is going to get.
On Tuesday, former Officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty by a jury in the death of 40-year-old Justine Damond.
The settlement was announced today by Mayor Jacob Frey and city council members, who described it as a way for the city to move on.
“This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward,” Frey said. “I do believe that we will move forward together, united in the shared belief that such a tragedy should never occur in our city.”
Here’s what happened. Damond, who was a dual citizen of the United States and Australia, called police in 2017 to report a possible rape near her home.
Noor and his partner were driving down the alley behind where she lived and were checking out the call.
Noor testified in court that a loud bang on the patrol car scared his partner. When he saw a woman raise her arm at the partner’s window, he fired his weapon. He said he was trying to protect his partner from what he thought was a threat.
As soon as charges were filed against him, Noor lost his job with the police department. On Tuesday, he was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jury did not find him guilty of second-degree murder.
Initially, the woman’s family sued for more than $50 million, claiming her civil rights had been violated.
The family’s attorney, Bob Bennett, said the settlement was accepted all around.
He said “that it required good faith negotiations on everyone’s part,” and added his clients were only interested in a settlement “if the amount of the settlement itself was transformational.”
“So this is an unmistakable message to change the Minneapolis Police Department in ways that will help all its communities,” he said.
The money will be paid by the city’s self-insurance fund. The settlement calls for Damond’s family to donate $2 million to a local foundation’s fund aimed at addressing gun violence.
After the verdict was read, Noor was taken straight from the courtroom into the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Dept. He will be sentenced on June 7.
In his defense, Noor’s attorneys said he had reacted to a loud noise that he thought was an ambush. But prosecutors said there was no evidence that he faced a threat that justified deadly force.
Earlier this month during the trial, body camera footage was played. It showed the woman’s final moments along with the officers’ unsuccessful attempts to save her.
One of the body cameras showed Noor and his partner taking turns performing CPR on her until firefighters arrived. The other showed Noor being taken to a supervisor squad car.
Officer Mark Ringgenberg said in court that Noor kept asking if Damond was OK.
“I just told [Noor] not to say anything,” Ringgenberg said. “I don’t remember specifics.”
In a statement, the Somali-American Police Association (SAPA) criticized the jury’s decision to convict Noor.
“Officer Noor is the first police officer in Minnesota’s history to be convicted of murder while in the line of duty,” the statement read. “SAPA believes the institutional prejudices against people of color, including officers of color, have heavily influenced the verdict of this case. The aggressive manner in which the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office went after Officer Noor reveals that there were other motives at play other than serving justice.”
They say it will have a negative impact on officers across America.
“SAPA fears the outcome of this case will have a devastating effect on police morale and make the recruitment of minority officers all the more difficult.”