The former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman when she approached his vehicle to report a possible sexual assault is asking the court for a sentence in which he would serve two weeks in prison each year.
Mohamed Noor, 33, faces a maximum 12.5-year prison sentence for the death of Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk, 40, on July 15, 2017. He was convicted in April of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
As the Daily Mail reports, Noor’s attorneys suggested that Noor serve one week in a low-security prison annually to “honor” her birthday and one week to mark her day of death. They wrote, “This sentence honors the memory of Ms. Rusczcyk and allows Mr Noor to continue to serve the city. Just as importantly, it mandates that Mr Noor will continue to consider his action and the great loss they caused.”
On the evening of the incident, Justine Rusczcyk had called 911 to report a noise and a possible sexual assault in an alley in South Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although police were not wearing body cameras, as police in Minneapolis have to manually turn them on, witnesses told police that police officers arrived at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. The sequence of events was captured, in part, by police radio.
Ruszczyk allegedly walked up to the police car in her pajamas and addressed the driver when Noor reportedly pulled out his gun and shot her through the driver’s door. According to one source, when Noor opened fire, his partner was "stunned.”
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release, “Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S. just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday. At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.”
Ruszczyk was set to marry American businessman Don Damond, 50, in August 2017.
Noor had previously been lauded by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in 2016, who stated on Facebook, "I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall."
Three days after his daughter’s death, John Ruszczyk issued a statement calling for the truth about the incident to come to light and justice to be administered. He said:
We thought yesterday was our worst nightmare, but we awoke to the ugly truth, and it hurt even more. Justine, our daughter, was so special to us, and to so many others. We went down to the beach this morning, and saw the blackness change to light. Justine was a beacon to all of us . We only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstance of her death.
Ruszczyk’s fiancé, Don Damond, stated tearfully, “The death of Justine is a loss to everyone who knew her. She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart. She was a teacher to so many in living a life of openness and kindness.”