After changing careers to join the Minneapolis Police Department in 2015, Mohamed Noor was lauded by the mayor and his fellow Somalis as a welcome addition to the force.

“I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department,” then-Mayor Betsy Hodges posted on Facebook at the time. “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.”

Noor, 31, was one of nine Somali officers in the department, and the first to patrol the Fifth Precinct in the city’s southwest neighborhoods. He worked the evening shift, and last summer went from one of hundreds of the city’s anonymous beat cops to the an officer embroiled in controversy after the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an unarmed civilian, in a south Minneapolis alley. The 40-year-old woman had called 911 to report a possible crime.

After the shooting, Noor’s attorney Thomas Plunkett said that the officer extended “his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers.”

“He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities,” Plunkett said in the statement.

Abdikadir Hassan, then a candidate for the Park Board from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, said Noor was considered a role model. “He is inspiring to young people in the community,” Hassan said at the time. “He is very supportive and good with the kids. He is such a lovely guy.”

Noor holds a degree in business administration, management and economics from Augsburg College. Before joining the department, he worked in commercial and residential property management in Minneapolis and St. Louis and was general manager of a hotel in Eden Prairie.

Plunkett said in a statement last year that though the environment for police was difficult, Noor accepted it as part of his calling. The officer is a caring person with a family he loves, and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing, he said.

Divorce documents described Noor as a caring, involved father who was at times consumed by the demands of his job.

His mother often watched Noor’s son while he was at work. They spoke Somali at home, but Noor insisted that English be his son’s first language. An evaluator sent to observe Noor interacting with his son concluded that his “even keel and calm demeanor may have ultimately been responsible” for calming the agitated child down.

“Becoming an officer was a dream come true.” Somali activist Omar Jamal said at the time. “Not only was it symbolic to become a member of the force, but confirmation of being part of the United States.”


This story was originally published on July 18, 2017.