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Defense rests case in Noor trial, closing arguments expected Monday

April 26, 2019 10:42 PM

The defense in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor rested its case Friday afternoon, according to a KSTP reporter who was present in the courtroom. 

The judge told the jury to prepare to receive the case after both sides present their closing arguments Monday. KSTP's Kirsten Swanson reported the jury will be sequestered during their deliberations .

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Noor shot and killed Damond after she called 911 to report a possible crime happening outside her South Minneapolis home.

He is facing murder and manslaughter charges and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

RELATED: Noor testifies about the moments before he fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond

Shortly after Mohamed Noor walked into the courthouse, he was back on the stand calling that night,"a traumatic experience".

He told prosecutors that although he did not see any weapons on her, he felt her actions showed a threat to his life.

The prosecution asked Noor whether he could have used that split second to tell Damond to step back or put her hands up, or tell his partner Officer Matthew Harrity to drive away. He replied, “No, ma’am.”

He was also asked about whether the call received that night was more serious than others that had been received earlier.

"It's a 911 call," he answered. "It's a serious call."

He confirmed turning his body camera on during at least four prior calls that night.

His defense focused on his training to act instead of react.

They asked, “if someone had a weapon in their right hand before you acted, what would have happened?"

Noor replied, "My partner would have been killed"

He said as soon as he shot her, his only focus was “helping save her life”.

The defense brought in a use of force expert who tried to validate Noor's claims that there was a threat.

Emanuel Kapelsohn confirmed he is a lawyer and special deputy for a Pennsylvania sheriff’s office. He said he spends “90 percent” of his time consulting and he’s testified 84 times. The prosecution pointed out that he testified against an officer in only one of those cases.

He said based on the nature of the 911 call, how Damond approached the squad, the time of day and Harrity’s reaction, “it was objectively reasonable under all of these circumstances to believe a deadly attacking had begun.”
 

The defense expert testimony directly contradicted what two state use of force experts said earlier in the week.

Former federal prosecutor Steve Schleicher said this sets up a battle of the experts for the jury to ultimately settle.

"When you have experts that can testify to exact opposite conclusions, it really isn't so much objective, it's subjective," Schleicher said in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

He said when deliberations begin, the jury will have to form their own opinion of whether they believed the force Noor used when shooting Damond was reasonable.

"It's going to be very difficult for the jurors because really, in this scenario, there's nothing that could have been done to avoid being killed," Schleicher said.

Two of Damond's neighbors were also brought to the stand.

Neither could confirm hearing the yelling that prompted Damond's 911 call but both said they heard what could have been a gunshot.

One also described hearing another noise shortly before the gunshot but could only describe it as sounding like ,"a Minneapolis garbage can being thrown down."

At one point, the second neighbor got emotional saying quote, "this has been an earth shattering, life changing part of my life."

Damond's family was at the proceedings and were visibly upset.

Noor stated again and again that he believed he had to make what he called a split-second decision to save his partner's life.

KSTP's Callan Gray reported Noor testified for around 45 minutes in all Friday morning.

Follow the day's events in court with KSTP's Callan Gray's tweets:

KSTP's complete coverage of the Noor trial

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