MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, the woman who was fatally shot by then-police officer Mohamed Noor.
Mayor Jacob Frey announced the settlement Friday afternoon, with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and the entire city council behind him. While saying he was unable to go into much detail, Frey did say Justine's family will keep $18 million of the settlement, and donate the additional $2 million to the Safe Communities Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation.
"This is not a victory for anyone, simply a way to move forward," Frey told reporters, "and I believe we will move forward together, uited in the shared belief that such a tragedy should never happen in our city."
Frey said the agreement was reached after two days in settlement talks, and a settlement conference Friday morning to finalize details. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved the settlement, and Frey said he would do the same immediately following the press conference.
Council members Jeremiah Ellison and Andrea Jenkins were among the team that negotiated the $20 million settlement. Both said the shooting of Justine by a Minneapolis Police officer was a tragedy, but not one that is unique. "This tragedy, as unfortunate as it was, happens far too often in our communities," Jenkins asserted. "Public safety and police trust must be our utmost concern moving forward."
Damond's family had filed a lawsuit seeking more than $50 million, alleging that her civil rights were violated. The mayor said the city moved quickly to settle in part due to Noor's conviction for third-degree murder, as well as the officer's failure to identify a threat before he used force.
Noor was convicted Tuesday of third degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Ruszczyk Damond July 15, 2017 in an alley behind her south Minneapolis home. Justine, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, had called 911 to report a possible rape in the alley behind her house.
Noor and his partner were rolling down the alley in a police SUV when they claim to have been startled by a loud bang on the back of their cruiser. Noor testified that he fired to protect his partner from a potentially deadly threat. Prosecutors countered by calling Noor's actions reckless and deadly. Jurors took just over 11 hours to reach a verdict after hearing three weeks of testimony.