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Minneapolis city leaders discuss settlement in wrongful death lawsuit filed by Justine Ruszczyk Damond's family

May 01, 2019 10:22 PM

One day after former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017, Minneapolis city leaders met to discuss a settlement in the $50 million wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by her family last summer.

RELATED: Noor trial highlights rift between police and prosecutors

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The meeting, which included Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Mayor Jacob Frey, City Attorney Susan Segal and City Council members, was held behind closed doors. 

"All of these cases are really, really hard and tragic," Segal said addressing the case in front of them.

Family members claim there was an unreasonable use of deadly force, improper training, a conspiracy to cover up the incident and that the shooting deprived Justine of life and liberty.

Relatives said had it not been for the actions of Noor, his partner Matthew Harrity, the police department and the City of Minneapolis, the 40-year-old life coach and yoga teacher would still be alive. 

The family turned to attorney Bob Bennett, who has represented other victim's families, like the family of Philando Castile. 

His mother secured a $3 million settlement from the city of St. Anthony.

Then there's the largest payout in Minneapolis history, $4.5 million for the shooting of Duy Ngo in 2007.

In the complaint, Bennett pointed out the ages of the officers involved.

Noor was 32 at the time and Harrity was 25. Bennett called them "inexperienced officers who appear by their conduct unfit for duty."

He also accused the partners of concocting a cover story after failing to turn on their body cameras.

Because Minneapolis is self-insured, it is financially responsible for any damages awarded in a settlement. 

The full City Council must vote to approve it, then a second emotionally-charged trial would be avoided. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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