Noor's ex-partner to judge: 'We are cops, but we are also human'

Police Shooting-Minneapolis
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor listens to victim impact statements during his sentencing hearing with his lawyers Peter Wold, left, and Thomas Plunkett at the Hennepin County District Court on Friday, June 7, 2019.
Leila Navidi | Star Tribune via AP, Pool

In an emotional email the day before former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for murder and manslaughter, Noor's former partner pleaded with the judge to consider the impact Justine Ruszczyk's shooting death had on Noor.

Noor was the first Minnesota police officer to be convicted for killing someone while on duty. In July 2017, he shot and killed Ruszczyk in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted.

Officer Matthew Harrity wrote to Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance that he and Noor were meant to "serve the community of Minneapolis," and that being a police officer doesn't "make us any less of a human."

"Noor has a good heart and the pain and suffering from that night are going to follow him for the rest of his life, which seems to be a pretty large punishment in itself," Harrity said. "I know the emotional struggles he is dealing with, as am I."

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As a police officer, Harrity said Noor went "above and beyond on calls," describing Noor hugging a homeowner whose house was burglarized and spending 20 minutes talking to customer service representatives of a security company after an alarm went off.

"I ask you to please take in consideration the humility it takes to be a police officer in today's world," Harrity wrote.

Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity
Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity testified Thursday he heard a "thump" and a "murmur" in the alley and worried of a possible ambush before his partner, officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk.
Cedric Hohnstadt for MPR News

Harrity's email and 14 other statements were not included in a previously-released batch of 44 letters regarding Noor's sentencing because they were sent directly to the judge, according to a spokesperson for Hennepin County District Court. MPR News received the letters after making a public data request to the court.

Previously released letters supporting Noor, including one from south Minneapolis state Rep. Hodan Hassan, spoke of Noor's kindness and commitment to community service.

Ruszczyk's father asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed on Noor.

Some letters sent directly to the judge ask that Noor not serve any prison time, including some from Ruszczyk's friends. One woman wrote that Justine would have forgiven Noor in an instant: "Justine would want whatever is the best decision for humanity."

Other letters to the judge argued that Noor should be treated like regular citizens. A Pennsylvania resident who followed the case wrote that Noor should serve time, even though he likely regrets killing Ruszczyk: "It's not about vengeance, it's about accountability."

Noor is currently being held in Oak Park Heights correctional facility in Stillwater, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.