A Minneapolis police officer who was fired and charged in the death of an unarmed woman who had called police for help had been “flagged” by two psychiatrists during his training period, according to a new report.
Mohamed Noor was charged with murder for fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond after she called police to report a woman in distress in her neighborhood.
Now the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports court records in the case, which also has prompted a multi-million dollar claim by Damond’s family against the city, reveal that Noor “concerned psychiatrists and training officers about his fitness for duty long before he fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond.”
The report said the two psychiatrists had concerns during his pre-hiring evaluation in 2015 “after he exhibited an inability to handle the stress of regular police work and unwillingness to deal with people.”
Explained the Star Tribune: “The report went on to say that Noor was more likely than other police candidates to become impatient with others over minor infractions, have trouble getting along with others, to be more demanding and have a limited social support network. They showed he ‘reported disliking people and being around them.'”
But since evidence was lacking of “a major mental illness, chemical dependence or personality disorder,” he could be hired as a cadet officer.
Michael Quinn, a consultant, told the newspaper: “You’ve got to have a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. You’ve also got to communicate with people and have some confidence and be able to deal with stress situations.”
His lawyers have claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot the woman, without warning, while he was sitting in a patrol car. She was approaching the officers because she had called to report a woman in distress.
The report said other details have emerged: Noor at times didn’t want to take calls and instead drove in circles, and refused to follow up on a report of a possible burglar, even after promising he would check.
The records show that before he started his police shift that day, he had worked seven hours of an off-duty job.
At the shooting, the report said, “Damond apparently approached the vehicle and Noor fired his weapon.”
“He made no attempt to identify a threatening situation, let alone de-escalate one,” court filings state.
Damond’s family has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit.
Damond, a native of Sydney, Australia, was a veterinarian and a yoga instructor who recently had become engaged to longtime boyfriend Don Damond.
She heard a commotion in the alley, then picked up the phone to call 911 to report a possible sexual assault in progress.