- Associated Press - Friday, June 7, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Statement in court Friday from former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor before he was sentenced Friday to 12½ years in prison for killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond:

Your honor, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the events that I caused, that bring me here today. I’ve thought and prayed about this for the last two years, the time since I took the life of Justine Ruszczyk. I thought a lot about Miss Ruszczyk before the trial, and more so in the last month. I’ve also been thinking about all the other lives that have been changed and continue to be changed by this event. Neither of our families will ever be the same again.

I have wanted to sit with Mr. Damond and tell him about what happened, and to extend my condolences to him, for the last two years, as well as to Miss Ruszczyk’s other families. The process of the courts and the lawyers - so cruel in the way it makes us behave towards each other - the system is dehumanizing. I wish I could have contact them sooner and a different way.

I have owed Miss Ruszczyk’s family an apology for a long time. I did write them a letter while in jail, and now I apologize in person for taking the life of such a perfect person who is dear to them and so many others.

I came to be a police officer as a calling to serve my community. I loved being a police officer in Minneapolis. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I took great pride in my uniform and the job and the mission of being a police officer. I worked to be good at my job and to bring people together. I tried every day to have compassion for people and their situation in life, and hoped to make individual lives better. That was my hope before I joined, and was my mission after I began working as a police officer. Taking a life so tragically goes against all of that.



I have lived with this, and I’ll continue to live with this. I caused this tragedy, and it is my burden. I wish though that I could relieve that burden others feel from the loss that I caused. I cannot and that is a troubling reality for me. I will think about Miss Ruszczyk and her family forever. The only thing I can do is try to live my life in a good way going forward. Regardless of the sentence in this case I owe that to Miss Ruszczyk and her family.

The moment I pulled the trigger I felt fear. When I walked around, I saw Miss Ruszczyk dying on the ground, I felt horror. Seeing her there, I knew in an instant that I was wrong. The depth of my error has only increased from that moment on. Working to save her life and watching her slip away is a feeling I can’t explain. I can say it leave me sad, it leaves me numb, and a feeling of incredibly lonely. But none of that, none of those words, capture what it truly feels like.

It shouldn’t matter, but Miss Ruszczyk was a fine person. Her fiance and her family are also such fine people. And I feel worse because of them. These are the people I worked to serve, and I harmed them in the worst way possible. Again I apologize.

The Quran explains that with hardship if you’re steadfast and have patience, it will come ease. I have to endure the punishment from the court and the punishment from within myself. I shot because I was protecting my partner Matthew Harrity’s life. I realized after I was wrong. That mistake is my hardship to bear. The loss I created is hardship for others to bear. I can’t apologize enough and I will never be able to make up the loss that I caused to Miss Ruszczyk’s family.

Judge, I don’t want to lose my family. I don’t want to be absent from my son’s life. Regardless of what I want, regardless of what I fear, I have to accept that I caused this and I have to live with it for the rest of my life. Thank you.

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