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Society

Cop Who Killed Woman Was Already Under Investigation

| by Sarah Zimmerman

The officer who shot and killed a 40-year-old Australian woman was already under investigation for another incident in which he "violently" escorted a woman to the hospital.

On July 15, officer Mohamed Noor shot Australian native Justine Ruszczyk in an alleyway near her Minneapolis home after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault. Little information about the incident has been released and investigators still haven't offered an explanation as to what prompted the shooting, CNN reports.

Although Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity, were wearing body cameras, they weren't turned on when the incident occurred.

"We've lost the dearest of people and we are desperate for information," said Ruszcyk's fiance Don Damond. "Piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy."

Ruszczyk was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. She had lived in the U.S. with her fiance since 2014, and the couple had been planning to marry in August.  

Noor and Harrity have been placed on administrative leave. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is spearheading the investigation, has already announced that no weapons were found at the scene of the crime.

"I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point," said police chief Janee Harteau in a statement. "I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation in the officer-involved shooting death."

Court records indicate that Noor was already under investigation for a possible battery and false imprisonment of another woman in May, according to the Daily Mail. The woman, a retired social worker, said that she called the police when she found an unknown male sitting outside her house smoking marijuana. Officers arrived to deal with the situation, but returned later in the evening to conduct a welfare check on the woman as relatives complained that she suffered from "some sort of mental health problem."

The woman recounted that she asked the officers to leave, but they forced their way through her screen door, telling her that they were going to escort her to the hospital.

"Defendant officer Noor grabbed Plaintiff's phone from her hand and then grabbed her right wrist and upper arm, thereby immobilizing her," according to the complainant. 

She was discharged from the hospital after an hour and a half. 

Noor has issued a statement regarding the recent shooting through his lawyer, and makes brief mention of his other lawsuit.

"Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event," the statement reads in part. "The current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling. We would like to say more, and will in the future. At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period."

Sources: CNN, Daily Mail / Photo Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr, SAPA/Facebook, Justine Ruszczyk/Instagram via Daily Mail

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