US Cop Who Shot Justine Ruszczyk To Face Trial
A former US police officer has been ordered to face trial over the death of Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk.
In a brief court appearance on Thursday, a judge ruled probable cause for a criminal case to proceed against Mohamed Noor, who fatally shot Ruszczyk minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in Minnesota last July.
Noor, who was fired from the Minneapolis police department in March, will face one count of murder in the third degree and manslaughter in the second degree,
Prosecutors claimed Ruszczyk was shot as she approached the police car window, with Noor reaching across his partner to fire his gun. Ruszczyk died at the scene.
While the former officer's attorneys argued he acted reasonably -- with his partner Matthew Harrity telling investigators they "got spooked" -- prosecutors said it was reckless.
District Court Judge Kathryn Quantaince on Thursday dismissed an attempt by Noor's legal team to have the case thrown out ahead of trial.
"Defendant either saw and fired at what he believed was a person, or he fired into the darkness at an unknown target," she told the court.
"Under either scenario, the jury could find that his act was dangerous to human beings and was performed without regard for human life."
Noor is also facing a $50 million civil rights lawsuit, filed by Ruszczyk's father John, accusing officers of conspiring to cover up the facts surrounding the case by failing to turn on their body cameras, and later hiding behind a "blue wall of silence".
A settlement conference is scheduled for October 17, while Noor will face trial next April 1 in Mineapolis.