USA cop who shot dead unarmed Aussie charged with murder

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A police officer in the USA state of Minnesota who shot dead an unarmed Australian woman last July was charged Tuesday with murder, in a case that sparked an global outcry.

Noor, who is Somali American, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, which respectively carry sentences of up to 25 years, and up to 10 years.

Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in Tuesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mr Noor was granted bail on the conditions he handed in his passport, did not carry a gun and did not communicate with his ex-police partner.

In June 2017, a 40-year old Australian yoga teacher was fatally shot by a cop in Minneapolis after calling 911 about a possible sexual assault she witnessed in an alleyway behind her home.

"Officer Harrity heard a voice, a thump somewhere behind him on the squad auto, and caught a glimpse of a person's head and shoulders outside his window", according to the criminal complaint. "Harrity checked to make sure he was not shot, then looked to his right and saw Officer Noor's right arm extended across him towards Officer Harrity's open window".

In a statement, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says Officer Mohamed Noor's time with the police department ended Tuesday.

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Freeman provided details of the criminal complaint, stating, "Despite the fact that no body-worn cameras were operating at the time of the shooting, we know that less than a minute before firing the fatal shot, Officer Noor was sitting in the passenger seat of the police cruiser". They say they hope a strong case will be presented and Noor will be convicted.

The prosecutor said some police officers would not cooperate with the investigation and volunteer information about the incident. Holding a gunshot wound on her stomach, Damond said "I'm dying" or "I'm dead". "However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that", the statement said.

He said Noor "violated the rules, and deserves to be charged" in Damond's death and that Noor abused his authority to use deadly force. "I've never had police officers who weren't suspects refuse to do their duty and come forward and talk to us", Freeman said.

Sarah Kuhnen, a neighbor of Damond's and member of Justice for Justine, read from a statement following Freeman's press conference. He is accused of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

But in announcing the charges, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman alleged Mr Noor had "recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun".

Noor then shot out the driver-side window of the squad vehicle and hit Damond, who had moved from Australia to the U.S. to marry her fiance, said Freeman. The incident prompted the resignation of Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau a year ago. "We respect the criminal justice process and wait for the case to proceed before making further comment".

"It should not have taken the shooting death of Justine, a handsome white woman from southwest Minneapolis and Australia, of course, for people to wake up to the problems that we have been talking about for years", Levy-Pounds said. He pledged to strengthen efforts to rebuild the trust between the department and the public and pointed to officer de-escalation training and body camera policies as a priority.

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