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LEGAL Ongoing Coverage of the Noor Trial via Powerlineblog
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    N. Minnesota

    Ongoing Coverage of the Noor Trial via Powerlineblog

    Posted on April 17, 2019 by Scott Johnson

    (This is the trial of the Minneapolis Somoli cop shooting the Australian woman. I'm not going to update this everyday, but as a point of interest, Scott Johnson has a media seat at the trial and has been giving daily summaries. If you are interested, check out his daily posts, and those previous, on the website. WT)

    At the Noor trial (11)

    We had an important day in the trial of the murder/manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor for the killing of Justine Ruszcyk. The prosecution called MPD fifth precinct sergeant Shannon Barnette to the stand, but was allowed to cross-examine her under Rule 611 of the Rules of Evidence. She was essentially treated by the County Attorney as an adverse witness.

    The prosecution bears the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but Noor’s defense of the use of deadly force in this case rests on two prongs: (1) Justine slapped the Harrity/Noor squad car as it stopped at the end of the alley behind her house in southwest Minneapolis (in the safest neighborhood in Minneapolis’s five precincts) and (2) Harrity and Noor feared a police ambush in connection with Justine’s 911 call as they were about to leave the scene. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy’s examination of Barnette did substantial damage to the first prong of the defense.

    Sweasy is an excellent cross-examiner. I am impressed by her. Her examination of Barnette was devastating. As I read the proceedings, she left Barnette flustered and humiliated because Barnette was making it up as she went along.

    The Star Tribune summarizes yesterday’s testimony here, MPR here. My emphasis differs from theirs. The background of their narrative accounts affords me the freedom to bottom-line it, as they say in the business world.

    • Barnette was riding alone on the on the middle shift watch when she heard the shots-fired call on her radio. She activated her bodycam and took off for the scene. She took over the scene as the critical incident commander under the protocol for officer-involved shootings.

    • Before I get to the heart of her testimony I should note that Barnette was one of the police non-cooperators with the County Attorney’s investigation of the killing. The County Attorney’s undertook the investigation after he found the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation to be inadequate. Barnette refused to talk voluntarily to the County Attorney. Her testimony was compelled before the grand jury that the County Attorney empaneled specifically to obtain the testimony of the police non-cooperators.

    • Barnette recorded three bodycam clips at the scene on the evening of July 15-16. She turned off her bodycam when she talked to Noor as he sat in the squad car before he left for City Hall per police protocol in officer-involved shootings. She had a hard time explaining why she turned the bodycam on and off at the scene.

    • The second bodycam clip is nevertheless crucial. She talked to Harrity upon arrival. The second clip captures Harrity’s explanation of the shooting to Barnette: “She just came out of nowhere on the side of the thing [squad car] and we both got spooked. I had my gun out. I didn’t fire. And then Noor pulled out and fired.”

    • Key words: “We both got spooked.”

    • After the initial playing of the three video clips we broke for lunch. Barnette’s testimony consumed most of the afternoon. Barnette couldn’t explain why she turned her bodycam on and off.

    • Sweasy’s cross-examination of Barnette persuaded me that Barnette invented Jutine’s slap on the car to explain why Harrity said Justine “spooked” them.

    • Peter Wold made the slap an important part of his opening statement. He dramatically slapped the counsel table during his statement to illustrate it.

    • Assistant County Attorney Patrick Lofton suggested during his opening statement that the slap didn’t occur, but rather that Barnette invented it during the investigation of the shooting by the BCA.

    • On this point I take it that the prosecution delivered on the promise of delivering on what it promised the evidence would show in its opening statement; the defense came up short (so far). Harrity’s testimony may yet shore up the defense.

    • Both the Star Tribune and MPR note that the transcript of Barnette’s interview with the BCA reflects Barnette recalling Harrity telling her that Justine had a “stunned look on her face and then he heard a noise and then Noor shot her.” This didn’t make much of an impression on me compared to what went before.

    • Peter Wold briefly cross-examined Barnette. He tried to build her back up a little, invoking her long day at the scene (more than 20 hours) to explain the deficiencies in her report. He went over provisions of the bodycam policy in effect at the time of the incident to explain the decisions she made turning her bodycam on and off. He elicited her observation that Noor had a “thousand-yard stare” when she tracked him down in Ringgenberg’s squad car before he departed for City Hall. He had her explain that she had all the evidence she needed for public safety purposes without going into further details with Harrity and without interviewing Noor at all.

    • My impression, perhaps mistaken, was that Peter perceived Barnette’s ship to have sunk. His cross-examination of Barnette was relatively brief, as most of the defense cross-examinations so far have been. My guess is that he didn’t want to tie Noor too tightly to Barnette after Sweasy was done with her.

    • Barnette was not a credible witness. She was a defeated person when she got off the stand. I almost felt sorry for her.

    The prosecution asked the court to adjourn a few minutes early in light of a witness whom it will examine at length today. Could it be Harrity?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Thanks for taking the time to provide a summary of the trial.
    corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    SE Okieland
    At least two officers need to be fired and the murder needs to be executed for murder....


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    At least two officers need to be fired and the murder needs to be executed for murder....

    Agreed. There is NO excuse for this cold blooded murder. Any cop who is such a pansy as to get "spooked" when a white woman in her pajamas (who called 911!) shows up should never have worn the uniform in the first place.


  5. #5
    Thanks for the update. So many times cases like this get swept under the rug. I want to know what happens, so thanks VERY much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Yes, indeed. I figured Noor was in line for a desk job retirement with a guaranteed salary.
    "Freedom is not something to be secured in any one moment of time. We must struggle to preserve it every day. And freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."
    -Ronald Reagan


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