As prosecutors continued to outline their murder case against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, a judge’s filing on Wednesday released new details about the actions of Noor and his former police partner in the immediate aftermath of the deadly shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Within moments of the fatal shot being fired, Noor’s partner, officer Matthew Harrity, had gotten out of their police SUV and rushed over to help Damond to the ground. He told Noor, who was still clutching his gun, to re-holster his firearm and activate his body-worn camera. Footage from the officers’ cameras captured them standing over Damond, whose labored breathing was picked up by one of the officers’ recording device. Less than 15 seconds had elapsed since Noor opened fire.
The revelations were contained in a written order by Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance that formally reversed her earlier decision that barred the media and public in the courtroom from viewing certain potentially graphic body-camera footage from the crime scene. Quaintance argued that she had sought to balance the massive media interest surrounding the case with Noor’s right to a fair trial and with privacy concerns raised by broadcasting Damond’s dying moments.
A coalition of local news outlets argued in a motion that the public, and by extension the media, had a right to view all evidence in the case once it became public at trial.
Ultimately, Quaintance determined that there was no legal precedent for withholding the footage from viewing, telling the courtroom on Tuesday that even if she doesn’t agree with the law, she is obligated to follow it.
Wednesday’s filing mentions that Noor’s shot, which came while he was sitting in the passenger seat of the police squad, was fired at 11:40 p.m., based on “surveillance video” — the existence of which wasn’t previously disclosed. The order was filed on Wednesday afternoon, as court wrapped up for the day after several hours of testimony.
Quaintance wrote that in making her decision she reviewed about 40 minutes worth of body camera footage from four officers: Noor, Harrity, and Scott Aikins and Thomas Fahey, who were among the first to arrive on the scene after the shooting.
Noor’s video runs 5 minutes and 17 seconds, while Harrity’s is 9 minutes, 47 seconds, the judge wrote. Both Aikins and Fahey recorded more than 20 minutes of footage.
The prosecution said that it expects to present body camera footage while calling its seventh witness.
Video from Aikins’ camera captured paramedics from Hennepin County Medical Center arriving on scene “several minutes” into the recording and cutting through Damond’s shirt and bra as they tried to revive her, according to the filing. A few minutes into the recording, someone is heard saying that Damond no longer had a pulse; about 25 seconds later, she was pronounced dead, the filing said.
Fahey’s body camera recorded the shooting’s aftermath, showing Noor and Harrity taking turns performing CPR on Damond, who was still alive, according to the filing. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter, and took over administering CPR on Damond, who appeared to still be breathing, the filing said. The recording also shows an ambulance pulling up to the scene and a voice is heard saying, “state the expectation this would likely be ‘load and go,’ ” which the judge wrote suggested that paramedics anticipated rushing Damond to the hospital. She was pronounced dead three and a half minutes later.
Harrity is also heard on the recording saying that the incident was an “officer shooting,” and that there were no suspects at large.