The family of a white woman in Minneapolis who was shot and killed by Black police officer Mohamed Noor has been awarded $20 million. The payout will be the largest of its kind in Minnesota history.
Justine Ruszczyk Damond was shot as she approached Noor’s patrol car to report a possible rape behind her Minneapolis home on July 15, 2017. The 40-year-old was unarmed and a jury determined she did not pose a threat to Noor or his partner who accompanied him on the 911 call Damond made.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey says the unprecedented circumstances of the conviction played a role in the settlement. "There was not a clear threat before the use of force was made," he said. "This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward." Noor is the first police officer in Minneapolis history to be convicted of an on-duty shooting.
$2 million of the payout will go toward combating gun violence.
The $20 million settlement is in stark contrast to the $3 million Philando Castile’s family received. The officer who shot and killed Philando was not convicted even though the incident was captured on video. Damond’s family also reportedly received the money immediately, while it took three years for Castile’s to receive the payout.
Philando Castile’s mother Valerie Castile took a large part of the settlement to wipe out school lunch debts for thousands of children. She also began the Philando Feeds the Children fundraiser that raised $150,000 and eliminated school lunch debts across the entire St. Paul public school system.
Both Philando Castile and Justine Damond’s lives were unnecessarily wiped out. Their aftermaths though, both in criminal justice and financial compensation, speak volumes.
Mohamed Noor is facing 30 years in prison.
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