A former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman who called emergency to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home has been released from prison on parole.
Mohamed Noor’s release on Tuesday (Australian time) came months after his murder conviction was overturned and he was re-sentenced on a lesser charge.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections website said Mr Noor, 36, was placed under the supervision of Hennepin County Community Corrections.
He was freed 18 days shy of the fifth anniversary of the July 15, 2017, fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in her pyjamas in a Minnesota alley.
Justine Damond was shot after calling police to alert them of a potential sexual assault in the lane behind her home.
The 40-year-old dual US-Australian citizen and yoga teacher was engaged to be married within months.
Corrections Department spokesman Nicholas Kimball confirmed that Mr Noor had been released.
He said he could not confirm where Mr Noor would live, but that released offenders were generally supervised by the county where they live.
He said Mr Noor was held in North Dakota for most of his sentence and had no disciplinary issues in prison.
Mr Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter. Last year the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out his murder conviction and 12-and-a-half-year sentence, saying that charge did not apply to the case.
He was re-sentenced to four years and nine months on the manslaughter charge.
In Minnesota, it is presumed that a defendant with good behaviour will serve two-thirds of a sentence in prison and the rest on parole.
Mr Noor will remain on supervised release until January 24, 2024.
Ms Damond’s stepmother, Maryan Heffernan, said in a phone interview on Friday that the timing of Mr Noor’s release – so close to the anniversary of Ms Damond’s death – was painful.
“We’re very disappointed. But we’re not surprised. We’ve been watching events in Minneapolis from miles away and we’re still bewildered about the charge being dropped and we’re still bewildered about the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department,” Ms Heffernan said.
Mr Noor testified in 2019 that he and his partner were driving slowly in an alley when a loud bang on their police four-wheel-drive made him fear for their lives.
He said a woman appeared at the partner’s driver’s side window and raised her right arm before he fired a shot from the passenger seat to stop what he thought was a threat.
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