Following an emotionally devastating hearing including victim impact statements and a related video of the victim’s family and friends, Hennepin County District Judge Quaintance sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor to 150 months in prison for the third-degree murder of Justine Ruszczyk (Damond). Judge Quaintance rejected the defendant’s arguments in favor a dispositional or durational departure as unsupported by any relevant legal argument. She specifically rejected the therapeutic options served up by Noor and his counsel. She accordingly imposed the presumptive sentence at the middle of the allowable range under the Minnesota sentencing guidelines.
Before imposing sentence, however, Judge Quaintance lowered the boom on Noor on the Minneapolis Police Department. In doing so, she took on the voice of the community as expressed by the jury to her following the verdict. How could the police do what they did in this case? Change is needed. How can officers have acted in such blatant disregard of their duty to serve and protect? Why was there so much discussion of police ambushes at trial? What about the motto embossed on Minneapolis police squad cars — “To protect with courage, to serve with compassion”?
Judge Quaintance commented: “The jurors’ questions remain unanswered….jurors and the people of Minneapolis deserve answers.”
Thank you, Judge Quaintance.
I have more to say on the hearing and how it went down, but this will have to do for now.