Justine Damond Ruszczyk: Police officer Mohamed Noor appears in court, granted bail

Justine Damond Ruszczyk: Police officer Mohamed Noor appears in court, granted bail

Justine Damond Ruszczyk: Police officer Mohamed Noor appears in court, granted bail

Updated 22 March 2018, 12:10 AEDT

The Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk appears in court and is granted bail at $US400,000.

The Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk has appeared in court and been granted bail at $US400,000 ($515,000).

Key points:

  • Bail conditions include Noor not communicating with his ex-police partner
  • Judge warns trial will be conducted in court not by media
  • Noor is facing charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

Mohamed Noor, who did not enter a plea, wore an orange shirt printed with the words Hennepin County Jail when he appeared in court sitting behind a glass screen.

He acknowledged those he knew in the court and quietly confirmed his name and birth date to the judge.

The 32-year-old has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over the shooting death of Ms Damond Ruszczyk in Minneapolis last July.

Applying for bail, Mr Noor's lawyer Tom Plunkett said he was not a flight risk, has a young family and has no connections to any other place.

"Mr Noor does not pose a threat to public safety," said Mr Plunkett, who declined to speak with reporters afterwards.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy said during the 10-minute hearing that prosecutors believed Mr Noor might flee and argued for $US500,000 bail.

"There were non-appearance concerns in the fall [autumn] that Mr Noor left the country or jurisdiction … but he was here," she said, adding that a witness offered to hide the defendant.

Mr Noor was granted bail on the conditions he handed in his passport, did not carry a gun and did not communicate with his ex-police partner.

Alluding to the level of scrutiny on the case, Judge Kathryn Quaintance said if there is a trial, it will be in the courtroom, not in the media or on the streets.

On Tuesday, Mr Plunkett said his client should not have been charged and he was simply following his training.

Mr Noor remained in jail on Wednesday afternoon, with his next court appearance set for May 8.

Mr Noor was placed on paid leave from the police force after the shooting, and Ms Sweasy said that his employment had ended.

It was not clear if he resigned or was fired, and police declined to comment.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman outlined the case against Mr Noor when the charges were announced yesterday.

"We have a second-by-second understanding of what happened," Mr Freeman said.

"In the short time between when Ms Damond Ruszczyk approached the squad car and the time that officer Noor fired the fatal shot, there is no evidence that officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat or confirmed a threat that justified his decision to use deadly force.

"Instead officer Noor intentionally and recklessly fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life."

Ms Damond had called 911 minutes before she was shot about a possible sexual assault behind her home.

A criminal complaint said Mr Noor's police partner on the night, Matthew Harrity, pulled his gun upon hearing a sound and catching a glimpse of someone behind their car.

When Ms Damond Ruszczyk came up to Mr Harrity's window, he did not shoot.

But Mr Noor did — firing across his partner's body and killing Ms Damond Ruszczyk.

Mr Harrity told his supervisor both men "got spooked" when they were approached.

If convicted of third-degree murder, Mr Noor could face a maximum of 25 years in prison, though the presumptive sentence is 12-and-a-half years.