The city of Minneapolis on Friday awarded the family of an Australian woman who was shot and killed by an on-duty police officer a $20 million settlement in connection to the 2017 incident.
The payout was announced by Mayor Jacob Frey at a Friday, May 3, press conference and is the largest in the city’s history. It serves as a civil settlement for Justine Damond’s family. Days earlier, Mohamed Noor, the Somali-American officer who opened fire on Damond in an alley nearly two years ago, was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
The settlement marks the first time an officer was found guilty of murder for an on-duty shooting in Minneapolis’ recent history. While discussing it at the presser, Frey said Damond’s family will receive $18 million and donate the remaining $2 million to the Minneapolis Foundation’s Fund for Safe Communities. The City Council voted unanimously on the decision, which the mayor approved.
“This is not a victory for anyone, but rather a way for our city to move forward,” Frey said. “I do believe we will move forward together, united in the shared belief that such a tragedy should never occur in our city.”
He noted the unprecedented circumstances led in part to the final judgment.
“As the proceedings made clear, there was not a clear threat before the use of force was made, as per Mr. Noor’s statements,” Frey said.
Noor shot and killed Damond when she suddenly appeared by his squad car in July 2017 as he and his partner were pulled into an alleyway. Noor argued that he opened fire to protect his partner. Damond had called 911 to report a possible rape behind her home.
Noor is set to be sentenced on June 7 and faces up to 25 years in prison for the murder charge and a maxim of 10 years in prison for manslaughter.
As news of the settlement spread, many on social media many remarked on the relatively little sum the family of Philando Castile received after he was shot and killed by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in July 2017.
Valerie Castile, the victim’s mother who was a trustee in the case, received $3 million in the settlement.
“I am trying to understand how the city of Minneapolis can give 20 mil to Justine Damond family but not give 20 mil to Philando Castile family? 🤔”
“Minneapolis to pay $20M to family of Justine Damond killed by cop … Guess black lives don’t matter. Philando Castile’s family got $3 million for his murder. “
“Ummm yeah… Philando Castile’s family got $3M for his death. Justine Damond’s family got $20M. Her life was worth 7X that of his.”
The municipalities involved in the two cases are not the same. The Castile family settled with the city of St. Anthony, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb.
During the fatal incident, Castile had alerted Yanez, who was ultimately acquitted of manslaughter and two lesser charges stemming from the case, that he was armed and licensed to carry. The aftermath of the shooting was captured on video by Castile’s girlfriend, whose young daughter was in the back seat when the elementary school cafeteria worker was shot and bled out.