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Minneapolis police officer to plead not guilty to murder

Mohamed Noor argues in court documents he shot Australian woman in self-defence and using reasonable force
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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Justine Damond: Minneapolis police officer to plead not guilty to murder” was written by Christopher Knaus, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 25th April 2018 21.54 UTC

The Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering Australian woman Justine Damond will plead not guilty and fight the charges at trial, court documents suggest.

Mohamed Noor, 32, will seek to argue self-defence and reasonable force, according to court documents seen by the Guardian.

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The documents were filed by Noor’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, on Wednesday in Minneapolis, and contain no other detail about his defence.

Noor is facing charges of of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Damond.

Two officers had attended her home in response to a 911 call. Damond had reported a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

As police were preparing to leave, Damond had approached the Ford Explorer police vehicle.

Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, allegedly shot her through the open driver’s side window.

Noor has invoked his right to silence but the second officer, Matthew Harrity, told a grand jury the pair were shocked by Damond’s approach.

Prosecutors said Harrity spoke of hearing “a voice and a thump somewhere behind him on the squad car and caught a glimpse of a person’s head and shoulders outside his driver-side window”.

The officers’ body cameras were not turned on until after the shooting.

The shooting provoked widespread condemnation of police. It sparked street protests and led to the sacking of the police chief. Damond’s family has pushed for changes to police procedure, to ensure video recordings are captured of such incidents, and a group of her neighbours have helped to form an advocacy group, Justice for Justine.

Last month, the Hennepin county attorney, Mike Freeman, began laying out their case against Noor.

“To lose a family member to violence is always wrenching and painful,” Freeman said. “But to lose it when she was acting as a concerned and caring citizen, and at the hands of the person she called for help, is inexplicable.”

Noor’s next hearing is scheduled for 8 May.

With Jared Goyette

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Migrants Than Previously Known

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The Trump Administration separated thousands more migrant kids from their families at the border than it previously acknowledged, and the separations started months before the policy was announced, according to a federal audit released Thursday morning.

“More children over a longer period of time” were separated at the border than commonly known, an investigator with the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office told reporters Thursday morning.

“How many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS” because of failures to track families as they were being separated, he said.

HHS officials involved in caring for the separated children and reunifying families estimated “thousands” of additional children are separated at the border, the inspector general said.

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Federal investigators said they had no details about how many of the “thousands of separated children” who entered the care of HHS before the June 2018 court order had been reunited.

“We have no information about the status of the children who were released prior to the court order,” Maxwell told reporters. [POLITICO]

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