“The court overruled prior case law supporting the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charging decision and we disagree with their analysis of the law,” Mr. Freeman said in a statement. “However, we respect and acknowledge that the Minnesota Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this matter.”
Mr. Noor’s case had been closely watched in Minneapolis’s large Somali-American community. Mr. Noor was the first officer of Somali heritage in his police precinct, and his hiring was celebrated at the time by the mayor. Before and during Mr. Noor’s trial, some members of the Somali community said they believed Mr. Noor was being treated differently than a white officer would have been. Ms. Ruszczyk was white.
In an interview with a local news station in 2020, Don Damond, Ms. Ruszczyk’s fiancé, said that three years after her death, he despaired over a lack of major change in the Minneapolis Police Department and still hoped that there would be greater focus on ways that police officers could be trained to de-escalate situations.
Mr. Damond has moved out of the couple’s house, finding the sight of the alley where she died too painful.
Ms. Ruszczyk’s death focused attention on the shortcomings of the Minneapolis Police Department nearly three years before another Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd in an incident that sparked protests and civil unrest across the city and country.
In the aftermath of Ms. Ruszczyk’s death, protesters called for an overhaul of the police department, the police chief was forced out of her job, and the city agreed to pay $20 million to settle a civil case. But distrust and misconduct persisted, and the department, which has seen an exodus of officers since Mr. Floyd’s death, is now under investigation by the Department of Justice.
Unlike Mr. Noor, Mr. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, a charge that was not at issue in the Minnesota Supreme Court opinion. Mr. Chauvin is serving a 22.5-year prison sentence for Mr. Floyd’s death and, along with other officers on the scene, is awaiting trial on federal charges.