Lawsuit: Mohamed Noor wrongfully pointed gun at driver during 2017 traffic stop

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor leaves.
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor leaves the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis with his attorneys on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. A lawsuit alleges that Noor and his partner violated a man's civil rights in 2017 by pulling him over and pointing their guns at him.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A lawsuit alleges that former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor and his partner violated a man's civil rights in 2017 by pulling him over and pointing their guns at him.

The complaint, filed in federal court, states that on May 17, 2017 officers Noor and Justin Schmidt conducted a traffic stop in which they drew their weapons on the driver. That man, Brian Oman, alleged that Noor pointed his gun at Oman's face, head and torso for 30 seconds while standing about a foot away from him. Oman says he suffered emotional trauma and feared losing his life.

"Mr. Oman did not engage in any conduct or behavior during the incident justifying the defendant officers' use/drawing/pointing of their firearms," read the complaint.

Oman has alleged that the city of Minneapolis, also named in the suit, "knew that defendant Noor presented a substantial safety risk to the general public." The complaint refers to a 2015 psychological evaluation report which described Noor as "likely asocial and socially introverted."

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A little more than two months after the traffic stop, Noor shot and killed 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk, for which he was convicted of murder and manslaughter.

In the lead up to Noor's murder trial, prosecutors referred to the May traffic stop as an example of what they called 'prior acts of recklessness.' However, defense attorneys said the officers observed the driver make what they called an 'exaggerated furtive movement.'

A 2016 performance evaluation by Noor's supervisor Kristopher Brown portrayed Noor as an officer who met or exceeded department standards. On Noor's decision-making skills, Brown wrote, "Mohamed typically makes accurate assessments of the urgency-level involved when a decision is required," wrote Brown. "He generally makes timely decisions when speed is essential. He demonstrates a willingness to make quick decisions, even when there is little time to consult with others."

The lawsuit filed in federal court is the third involving Noor. Earlier this month, the city settled with the Ruszczyk family for a record $20 million.

A suit filed by a woman who claims in 2017 Noor and other officers violated her rights when they removed from her home and took her to a hospital for a mental health evaluation has not yet been resolved.