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BCA special-agent-in-charge testifies at Noor trial

April 22, 2019 10:16 PM

The trial of the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond as she approached his squad car in July 2017 resumed Monday after a three-day Easter weekend break.

Jurors heard from witnesses with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about how the scene of the shooting was processed.

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Damond had called 911 to report a possible crime happening outside her South Minneapolis home. Mohamed Noor is facing murder and manslaughter charges and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

His partner, officer Matthew Harrity, testified last week that he heard something hit their squad car, then saw a glimpse of a silhouette outside.

"It scared me enough to want to bring my gun out," he said.

When asked whether he thought he was being ambushed, Harrity said, "Yes."

On Monday, special-agent-in-charge Eric Knutson of the BCA, who was the first BCA officer to arrive on scene, said it was another BCA officer and not a Minneapolis police officer who first told him about the officers hearing a slap on their squad car.

Knutson said the squad car back was released back to the Minneapolis Police Department after it was processed for evidence that night. However, the car was returned to the BCA about five days later.

The Minneapolis police officer who drove the car back to the BCA testified he was not directed to wear gloves when handling the squad car.

Prosecutors have said they do not believe there is any forensic evidence showing Damond slapped or touched the squad car before the shooting.

KSTP's complete coverage of the Noor trial

The uniforms Noor and Harrity were wearing that night, as well as the gun Noor fired and ammunition, were all introduced as evidence exhibits Monday.

A shift in who takes the stand this week has been expected. Experts are expected to discuss exactly what happened the night of the shooting and whether certain actions were justified.  

RELATED: Noor's former partner takes stand in murder trial

"I believe that is going to zero in on what is the most important issue the jury is going to have to consider," said KSTP legal expert Steve Schleicher. "(It's) really the only contested issue and that is, would a reasonable police officer in the place of officer Noor have taken the same actions that he did that evening?"

It remains unclear whether Noor will take the stand in his own defense.

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Rebecca Omastiak & Beth McDonough

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