The family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond has won a $20 million settlement against the city of Minneapolis for her death at the hands of a police officer in 2017.
On July 15, 2017, Damond reportedly thought she overheard someone being sexually assaulted or raped near her house in the middle of the night. So she called 911. But when police arrived, an officer shot and killed Damond after she ran outside in her pajamas to talk to them about what she had heard.
She had planned to get married the following month. Her fiancé, who was on a business trip at the time, recalled her telling him “OK, the police are here,” just before she walked outside to talk to them.
On Tuesday, a jury found 33-year-old Officer Mohamed Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was cleared of a second-degree murder charge. Noor said during his trial that he thought she was a threat, and when he had shot Damond, his “intent was to stop the threat and save my partner’s life.”
Noor’s partner had claimed that the two officers had gotten “spooked” when they heard a thump on their patrol car. Prosecutors said that there was no evidence she had touched the car.
The two officers reportedly tried to resuscitate her, but the bullet had hit her iliac artery. Hennepin County assistant medical examiner Lorren Jackson testified at Noor’s trial that even medical professionals would have likely been unable to save Damond from such an injury.
Damond’s family sued the city for $50 million, but had to wait until Noor’s trial wrapped up before a decision could be made in that settlement. They ended up getting $20 million.
“This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. “And I do believe that we will move forward together, united in the shared believe that such a tragedy should never occur in our city.”
Damond was a dual citizen of the United States and Australia.