New filing reveals concerns about Mohamed Noor prior to Justine Damond killing

Prosecutors say police trainers and psychiatrists had raised red flags about the officer.
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New information released in a court filing reveals concerns police trainers and psychiatrists had about Mohamed Noor prior to the killing of Justine Damond.

Prosecutors have revealed several red flags were raised about his ability to handle the pressure of the job prior to July 15, 2017, when he opened fired and killed Justine Damond in south Minneapolis.

The details were released in the state's rebuttal to an attempt by Noor's legal team to dismiss the case against the former officer, who has been charged with 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter in the death of the 40-year-old Australian native.

Here are some of the key points of the filing:

  • While displaying no signs of mental illness during a psychological evaluation as part of the pre-hiring screening and background check, Noor did report "disliking people and being around them." He was "likely to be asocial and socially introverted," which a psychiatrist said may be "incompatible" with police work.
  • A psychiatrist also noted he is "more likely to become impatient with others over minor infractions," and more likely to have a "history of problems getting along with others." Despite this, the evaluation found that with no mental illness, chemical dependency or personality disorders, he was physically fit to serve Minneapolis Police Department. A civilian HR officer who noted these inconsistencies followed up with the psychiatrist 2 weeks after they said Noor was fit to serve, but the doctor stood by their report.
  • A training officer said that "the higher the level of stress, the more Noor focuses on one thing and misses other things, like radio transmissions or acknowledging dispatch." He also struggled with "tunnel vision" while driving with lights flashing on his squad car, despite training saying "you're always scanning and looking and checking things" while traveling to an emergency.
  • 2 months before Damond's shooting, Noor pointed his gun at the head of a driver pulled over for a minor traffic infraction (he had been seen giving the finger to a bicyclist). His partner had his gun drawn too, but pointed away from the driver.
  • During his field training program in April 2016, his training officer said that Noor did not want to take calls sometimes, driving around in circles and ignoring calls even when they were ones he could easily handle. 
  • On one occasion during his training, he told a caller he would look around for a man who had been knocking on doors to find an empty home to burglarize. Instead however, he got back in his car and left the area.

Noor did not give Damond – an unarmed and innocent citizen who had just reported a possible sexual assault behind her Washburn Avenue house – any warning prior to shooting.

Considering this and the previous concerns about his temperament, prosecutors argue he acted "with indifference, in disregard of human life, and with full knowledge that he was taking the risk of killing someone without having an idea who it was."

"He made no attempt to identify a threatening situation, let alone de-escalate one," the motion said. 

Noor was fired from Minneapolis PD on the day he was charged with Damond's murder. His lawyers argue it was self-defense, while the Minneapolis Police Federation has appealed his dismissal.

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