U.S. Police Officer Charged with the Murder & Manslaughter of Australian Woman

In the United States, a former police officer Mohamed Noor will stand trial for murder and manslaughter charges for the 2017 shooting of an Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk.

An unwarranted and tragic death in the U.S.

On 15 July 2017, Ms Ruszczyk believed that a possible sexual assault was taking place in an alley behind her Minneapolis home. She called 911 to alert them of the situation. She was reportedly in her pyjamas when she approached the police car. It is believed that Mr Noor was in the passenger’s seat of the car when he fired multiple shots across his partner at Ms Ruszczyk. These fatal shots led to her tragic death.

Eight months after the incident, Mr Noor was charged with third-degree murder for perpetrating a dangerous act, and manslaughter in the second degree for culpable negligence, creating unreasonable risk.

During Mr Noor’s first appearance at court on Thursday, the ex-officer’s lawyers petitioned the court trying to have the charges thrown out. The officer’s defence argued that he acted reasonably, and that he was following police procedure when he had fired the shots. Judge Quaintance dismissed Mr Noor’s claims and instead found probable cause for a criminal case to proceed. His trial date is set for April 1 next year.

Police misconduct in Australia

The tragic death of Ms Ruszczyk is just one example of police brutality. However, this tragic incident is not isolated to the US. Australia has also seen far too many incidents of police misconduct, whether it involves the use of excessive force or a fatal shooting.

We have previously written about the systemic issue of police brutality throughout Australia. Internal investigation procedures are inadequate with anti-corruption commissions failing to investigate cases of alleged misconduct, and there is little disciplinary action taken.

Incidents of individuals being abused, or even worse, fatally injured by the police should not be treated lightly. The Government needs to implement more proactive mechanisms to ensure that such incidents are prevented.

Suing the police for misconduct

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors strongly believes in helping people assert their rights when they have been mistreated by the police.

For example, our firm was able to assist SH in bringing a claim against the police for battery and false imprisonment. SH’s partner’s son had made false allegations to the police that SH had hit him. These allegations did not match the doctors reports regarding scratches on his body. Nevertheless, the police charged her and made an application for an AVO. After the charges and AVO application were dismissed, she approached us to assist her in her civil claim. We helped her successfully settle the matter.

If you are a victim of police brutality, speak to one of our civil lawyers who are experienced in helping clients sue the police for assault, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. Call us on (02) 9261 4281 to book a free initial consultation today.

A former U.S. police officer Mohamed Noor will stand trial for murder and manslaughter charges for the 2017 shooting of an Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk.

A former U.S. police officer Mohamed Noor (left) will stand trial for murder and manslaughter charges for the 2017 shooting of an Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk (right).