Somali-born Muslim police officer Mohamed Noor, 31, joined the Minneapolis police force after graduating from the city’s accelerated police cadet program in 2015. The seven-month training course is touted as a faster, nontraditional way to help people who already have a college degree enter a career in law enforcement.
On the job for more than a year, Noor caused international headlines for fatally shooting Justine Damond, a 40-year-old spiritual healer from Australia, after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her southwest Minneapolis home. When she approached the driver’s side window of the squad car, Noor, who was in the passenger seat, fired across his partner in the driver’s seat, killing Damond.
The accelerated training program covers tuition at a local technical college and pays trainees a $20-an-hour salary with benefits while they work to get licensed. An officer’s salary rises after that.
Since the shooting, the MPD has been faced with a slew of questions regarding Noor’s experience and training.
Prior to going into law enforcement, he worked in commercial and residential property management and managed a hotel. He has a degree in business administration, management and economics from Augsburg College, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Amid growing criticism from the public and the Minneapolis City Council, Police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned on Friday. The day before that, she told reporters, “We have a very robust training and hiring process. This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer. He was very suited to be on the street.”
Critics of cadet programs say they are all about threat assessment and conducting tactical protocols, instead of common-sense ways to approach and diffuse situations.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has condemned the actions of Noor, and questioned the officer’s training in a statement she put out on Sunday:
“The fact we don’t have body camera footage of the shooting could be the result of one or more of the following: a gap in our body cams policy, a gap in training, a violation of our policy, or some combination of these things. I am confident I speak for everyone when I say its unacceptable that we don’t have this tool available to us in this case.”
Noor is the first Somali-American officer in his precinct, and has been personally praised by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
Noor also had three complaints filed against him during his two years of service, including a lawsuit.
Two complaints were filed in 2017 and one in 2016, which is closed and marked “not to be made public.”
Allegedly, the lawsuit stems from a May 25, 2017 police call during which Noor and two other officers transported a woman to the hospital. The woman claimed that the officers falsely imprisoned her and committed assault and battery.
Noor told the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he will not provide an interview about the incident with Damond. The BCA released the following statement: “Officer Noor has declined to be interviewed by BCA agents at this time. Officer Noor’s attorney did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible.”
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