The former Minneapolis police officer imprisoned for the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond two summers ago has challenged his murder and manslaughter convictions with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Ex-officer Mohamed Noor’s attorneys filed the appeal Tuesday, his attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold said in a statement.
Among their anticipated issues for appeal: Whether District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance erred “by limiting Mr. Noor’s right to present allowing the State of Minnesota to engage in prosecutorial misconduct, improperly instructing the jury on Murder in the 3rd Degree and allowing charges to go to the jury which were not supported by probable cause,” the filing read.
While Wold would not elaborate on the contentions referenced in the appeal, he said that “third-degree murder is just fully inappropriate and not supported by the law, and we’ll take care of that in the appellate courts.”
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which won guilty verdicts on April 30 against Noor, declined to comment about the appeal. A hearing for the appeal has yet to be scheduled.
Noor was sentenced on June 7 after jurors convicted him of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder for fatally shooting the unarmed 40-year-old Damond in an alley after she reported a possible sexual assault.
Noor’s term of 12½ years calls for him to be imprisoned until Aug. 30, 2027, with the balance of his time served on supervised release. Noor, 33, has also been relocated to a facility outside of Minnesota out of concern for his well-being, a state corrections spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Noor had been in Minnesota’s Oak Park Heights prison before his transfer Thursday for “his own safety under the circumstances,” said Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald said that Noor’s new location cannot be made public, but an online search of the North Dakota corrections website Tuesday morning located him roughly 450 miles to the northwest in a state prison in Bismarck.
Noor’s father, Mohamed Abass, said Tuesday afternoon that DOC officials notified the family of the transfer on the day it occurred.
Abass, agreeing that the move was in the best interests of his son’s safety, said, “It’s a long way away” for relatives to travel to see him, “but we accepted the decision.”
Fitzgerald added that Noor and his attorneys “do not have a say” about where he serves his time. Plunkett declined to comment about the transfer because it is a “confidential matter” between Noor and the DOC.
Fitzgerald also did not get specific on the circumstances behind the move, but did say there has been no incident involving Noor’s safety during his time in state prison.
Otherwise, she said, the “totality of his circumstances, including his role as a police officer, were taken into account when determining the best placement for his safety.”
As of July 1, the DOC had 66 offenders housed in other state’s prisons, Fitzgerald said.
DOC officials have had a practice of moving “cops out of state since they see the offender as a big risk of being assaulted due to prior employment,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, whose jurisdiction includes the Oak Park Heights facility, said Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, was transferred from an Illinois prison to a low-security federal institution in Connecticut. A beating from federal inmates left him with facial and head injuries, his wife said in a news conference in February.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482