Minneapolis Cop Convicted Of Killing White Woman Because White Lives Matter To Courts and Black Lives Don’t

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["Speaking Truth to Empower"]
Officer Mohamed Noor: going to prison for killing White woman
Photo: Facebook screenshot

Black Officer Mohamed Noor: if he had killed a Black woman and not a White one would he be going to prison now?

On Tuesday, Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder, and second degree-manslaughter, for the killing of Justine Damond—a White Australian-American woman, killed outside her home, in July 2017.

If Damond was a Black woman, Noor would surely be free today—especially, if he was White.

Why was Noor convicted, and the killer of Philando Castile acquitted, if not because of racism? Why was the White cop who killed an allegedly handcuffed Jamar Clark not even indicted?

On Tuesday, Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor, 33, was convicted of third-degree murder, and second degree-manslaughter for the killing of 40-year-old Justine Damond on July 15, 2017. Noor was immediately taken into custody after the conviction, even though his defense requested he be freed on bond. Noor, a Somali-American, will be sentenced on June 7. He faces 16 years in prison.

The tragic circumstances in this case started when Noor, and officer Matthew Harrity, answered a 911 call about a possible rape. Both officers would end up driving through an alleyway behind Damond’s home. Noor testified he heard a loud band on the squad car. He said this bang scared Harrity. And then, he claimed he saw a rising hand appearing at the window where his partner was. According to Noor, he fired one shot fearing for Harrity’s life, which killed Damond.

According to the police report, "Officer Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad," and immediately after Ms. Damond "approached the driver's side window of the squad car. Harrity indicated that Officer Noor discharged his weapon."

Although it seems clear officer Noor reckless discharged his weapon, the killing of Damond is certainly no more outrageous than many other killings were those killed are African-American. For example, Minneapolis is also the state where we witnessed, on videotape, the unjustified killing of Philando Castile. We’ll get back to that momentarily.

From the beginning of this case, we saw how racism colored a different response from police.

Five days after the killing of Damond, on July 20, then Minneapolis Chief of Police Janeé Harteau said this "Justine didn't have to die. I would prefer Officer Noor would speak."

Police chiefs are always making excuses when their officers are killing innocent Black people. Aren’t they usually telling us about how the officer feared for their life? When have we heard a police chief saying the Black victim of one of their killer-cops “didn’t have to die?”

And when have you ever heard any police chief telling an officer, who killed a Black person, that they should “speak” and tell what happened? Aren’t they always hiding behind the 48-hour rule—in some jurisdictions it can be much longer—when one of their criminal cops takes a Black life? Cops who kill citizens, if they have nothing to hide, should always make themselves available to answer questions right after the killing. Of course, we frequently get zero accountability when these racist cops kill Black Americans.

Since Noor was convicted, we’ve heard no outrage from the police unions. In fact, after the verdict, the local police union, and current Police Chief Medaria Arradondo were given their “condolences” and “apologies” to Damond’s family. “Apologies” are an admission that Noor did something wrong. How often have you heard police admit wrongdoing when they kill Black people?

There was also this comment by former Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann who called Noor an “affirmative action hire,” and opined "Noor comes from the mandated cover-up women culture. That's why I'm wondering if they'll ask whether his cultural views led him to shoot her.”

Congresswoman Bachmann says Noor was an “affirmative action hire,” and insinuates “his cultural views led him to shoot” Damond. Somehow right-wing Republicans, like Bachman, can’t admit their own White racist “cultural views” leads to the bloodletting of Black Americans by “peace officers” there supposedly “to serve and protect.” Not surprisingly, Bachmann said nothing about the unjustified killing of Jamar Clark, or, of Philando Castile.

Jamar Clark, 24, was killed on November 15, 2015, after a dispute which occurred at a party Clark was attending, in Minneapolis. At some point, paramedics were called. Clark got into an argument with paramedics. And allegedly police, and an EMS supervisor, then threw him to the ground. Police, like they often do, claimed Clark reached for an officer’s gun before they killed him.

But many witnesses disputed the tales of police. These witnesses say Clark was handcuffed, behind his back, while he was on the ground—before he was shot dead. One witness said Clark was “choke-slammed” before he was shot in the face.

Janeé Harteau was the police chief of Minneapolis Police at the time of Clark’s shooting. But Harteau’s response to Clark’s shooting was much different from her reaction after the killing of Ms. Damond. In fact, she parroted police talking points that Clark was resisting arrest when he was shot. Somehow, it didn’t dawn on her that even if Clark was resisting his killing was still unjustified, given the handcuffs. And there was no personalized heartfelt statement by Harteau that Clark “didn’t have die,” as she gave after the killing of Damond.

Moreover, unlike officer Noor who faced a trial, no charges were filed against the two officers who caused Clark’s death. The killer-cop who took Clark’s life was officer Dustin Schwarze who, like officer Noor, said he fired to protect the life of his partner, officer Mark Ringgenberg.

Months later, the world witnessed another inexcusable police killing when Philando Castile was killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez, on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Castile was shot dead during a traffic stop. Castile was killed after he decided to obey the law and tell the officer he had a legal gun in the car. Officer Yanez panicked because Black Americans presumably can’t be law-abiding gun owners. The Second Amendment “right” doesn’t apply to Blacks, in the eyes of most White Americans—police officers in particular.

After a half-hearted prosecution case, it came as no surprise when Yanez was acquitted of all charges against him. The Second Amendment defenders, and NRA activists, said nothing about the fact that Castile was a legal gun owner. Why? Because Castile is a Black man who was killed by police. And in American society, Black Americans are still, at best, second-class citizens whose lives are not regarded as valuable as White lives.

This brings us back to the conviction of Mr. Noor. He is going to prison because he made an unforgivable mistake: he killed an innocent White woman. If Ms. Damond had been a Black woman, like Sandra Bland, Debroah Danner, Rekia Boyd, Mya Hall, Sukri Ali, Miriam Carey, Charleena Lyles or Aiyana Stanley-Jones Mr. Noor wouldn’t be going to prison.

This explains something else most Black officers understand: a Black policeman can kill an innocent Black person and be protected by police unions and other political police apologists. But don’t make the mistake and kill an innocent White person. If you do, your Black behind will be crucified in White America’s courts and you will be sent straight to prison.

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