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Expert in Noor trial says use of force was 'excessive and objectively unreasonable'

April 24, 2019 10:15 PM

Two use of force experts testified Wednesday for the government against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.

Jurors heard from Lt. Derrick Hacker, a Crystal police officer and training instructor, as well as Timothy Longo, who is a retired police chief, attorney and professor at the University of Virginia.  

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Prosecutors  have been hammering away at what could be a key element in the case: whether Noor heard a loud slap against his police SUV that stirred fears of an ambush.

The prosecution has tried to raise doubts about whether that slap from 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond occurred.

Noor is on trial for murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of Ruszczyk Damond. She was shot as she approached the vehicle after reporting a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Hacker testified that the use of deadly force was "excessive and objectively unreasonable," and that "no reasonable officer would have perceived a threat by someone just walking up to the squad." 

He continued saying officers are approached all the time while in their squads and "just because an officer is startled, I would hope they wouldn't use deadly force."

Hacker also pointed out mistakes he says Noor and partner Matthew Harrity made while responding to the call of "unknown trouble."  Hacker criticized the officers for pulling their guns out while in the police SUV, saying "it's dangerous, violated police training, was unreasonable and unacceptable."

Both experts questioned why Noor and Harrity didn't reach out to Damond who called 911 not once, but twice - contending she'd still be alive if they'd taken that step. 

Longo took the stand Wednesday afternoon and wondered, "Why it was necessary to fire a weapon at someone who walked up to a police car. It's not necessary, it's that simple."

KSTP's complete coverage of the Noor trial

Harrity had previously testified in the trial that the two did perceive a possible threat.

But Hacker also criticized Noor and Harrity for a lack of due diligence, saying the "whole situation could have been avoided."

During the trial, the prosecution has focused on officers and investigators for apparent missteps. Testimony indicated that police at the scene turned body cameras on and off at will and possibly disturbed evidence.

Thursday, Noor's defense team will challenge Longo's testimony during cross-examination.  

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Credits

Brett Hoffland and Beth McDonough

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

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