Court files juror questionnaire in Noor case

February 15, 2019 10:28 PM

Feelings towards Somali-Americans and law enforcement officers are among the questions included in the jury questionnaire that was filed in the Mohamed Noor case Friday. 

Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, in the death of Justine Ruszczyk in July 2017.

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The trial is expected to start April 1. 

Because Noor is a Somali-American citizen, potential jurors will be asked if they know any people from Somalia and whether they've had any positive or negative experiences with a person of Somali descent or heritage.


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The questionnaire goes on to ask, "Is there anything about your knowledge of or relationships with any persons of Somali descent or the fact of Mohamed Noor's ethnicity that would be difficult for you to presume he is innocent of all charges against him?" 

The questionnaire also focuses on the potential jurors' feelings toward law enforcement professionals. 

The questionnaire asks if potential jurors have ever been treated unfairly by police, to describe their best and worst experience with law enforcement, whether they have had contact with members of the Minneapolis Police Department and their overall opinions of the Minneapolis Police Department. 

Because a number of police officers are expected to provide testimony during the trial, the questionnaire asks if the jurors will weigh the testimony with the same amount of credibility as other witnesses. 

Jurors will also be asked if they participate in groups that protest against police or groups that, "claims superiority over other races."

Prosecutors also filed the list of expert witnesses they intend to call to the stand.

The majority of the 30 witnesses work for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Many are forensic scientists or experts in crime scene analysis.

But it's unclear how the state plans to use several people on that list, including Timothy Longo, the retired police chief from Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I think there's some surprises coming and it would be very interesting to see how that plays out," said attorney Christa Groshek.

Groshek -- who is not involved in the case -- said it appears prosecutors are trying to broaden evidence that will be included in the trial.

Pre-trial motions filed Friday explain that the state wants to include Noor's job performance as a police officer in the trial. They also ask to bring in his pre-employment psychological evaluation.

"What they are trying to do here, I think, is give the jury a better sense of who Mohamed Noor was as a police officer and was he qualified to do his job and how has he performed in the past," Groshek said.

 

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