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Body camera footage shown in Noor trial

April 11, 2019 10:21 PM

The jury had its first look at body camera video during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, according to KSTP Reporter Eric Rasmussen, who was in the courtroom Thursday.

The footage was from the Minneapolis police officer who was the third person to arrive on scene after Justine Ruszczyk Damond had been fatally shot.

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Noor shot Damond in an alley behind her home in July 2017 when the unarmed woman, barefoot and wearing pajamas, approached the police SUV where he and his partner were seated. Noor's attorneys say he was protecting his partner and himself from what he perceived to be a possible ambush.

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

The video Thursday showed first responders performing CPR on Damond as the officer arrives on the scene. That officer - Scott Aikins - testified that he applied pressure to Damond's wound.

He said he did not know a fellow officer had been the person who shot her. 

Aikins said the streetlights were on and while he said there was not a lot of other "ambient lighting," Aikins said he had no trouble making out the faces of those around him.

Noor himself could be seen only briefly near the start of the video.

Meanwhile, Lt. Rick Zimmerman, who leads the department's homicide unit, also testified he had no trouble seeing people in the alley in which Damond was shot. Despite the suggestion that Noor and his partner were possibly startled by Damond when she approached the squad car, Zimmerman said no one told him someone had actually slapped the car.

During cross examination, he said he had worked with Noor once or twice and didn't remember having issues with him.

Officers also explained that they were confused when they first arrived on scene. Lt. Zimmerman recalled initially searching for a weapon around Damond's body.

"I didn't see anything," Zimmerman told the jury Thursday. "And my first thought, quite frankly, was what the [expletive]? Why isn't there something here?"

Late Thursday, prosecutors played a second body camera video from Aikin's partner at the scene. In that video, Noor can be seen being escorted away from the scene. The officer wearing the body camera is heard asking Noor: "You all right?" to which Noor replies "yeah," rubbing his face with his hand.

The other officer replied, "Just keep to yourself. Keep your mouth shut [inaudible] have to say anything to anyone."

Officer Mark Ringgenberg, who responded to the scene that night, testified that he sat with Noor for almost 30 minutes after the shooting. He told the jury they didn't discuss the shooting, but that "[Noor] had been asking me if she was going to be OK."

On Wednesday, jurors saw autopsy photos and learned from the medical examiner a bullet hit one of Damond's major arteries.

"With that kind of blood loss, even very quick help might not be enough," Hennepin County Assistant Medical Examiner Lorren Jackson said.

Jackson said 1.6 liters of blood were found in Damond's abdominal cavity. Noor and his partner tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Damond right after the shooting.

Jurors and others present also heard audio recordings of Damond's calls to Minneapolis police from the night she was killed.

RELATED: Jurors hear 911 calls in ex-officer Mohamed Noor's trial

Damond was a 40-year-old life coach with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Australia.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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