Local news outlets have claimed the whole world will be watching Minneapolis because of Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor’s trial. If that is true, then it will be to see the U.S. justice system jail one of its own.
However, Black folks will likely not be as curious — they have a deep suspicion of how this will turn out. They know the rules: in the U.S., if a Black man kills a White woman, he goes to jail, period! Add to that the fact that Noor is Muslim and an immigrant and it is safe to say things are not looking good for this cop.
On the night of July 17, 2017, Noor shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a White Australian woman in an affluent section of the city. According to reports on the crime, (that’s what it was) Damond had called the police to report that she heard a woman screaming in the alley behind her house and told police she feared someone was being raped.
Police responded and, according to them, she was shot after she apparently ran out of her house and banged on the car to get the squad’s attention. Noor supposedly responded to the noise by shooting Damond. Incredibly, Damond was at the driver’s side window when Noor, sitting in the passenger seat, shot past his partner killing the woman. Nothing about the incident makes sense.
And yes, the “rule”applies in the land of the great “middle of the fencers” Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.
Noor will not be on trial alone. U.S. race relations will be on full display. What will also be on trial is the North American idea of fairness and fair play. If he is convicted it will raise questions because everyone knows that cops don’t go to jail in the U.S. for killing people, unless….
Ironically, prison is where this cop should be sent. No doubt, there will be the temptation by some to hope that Noor gets off like the rest of the cops because he is Black. But that would be wrong-headed. As the saying goes, “wrong is wrong and right is right.” The hundreds of others that have gotten off without as much as an indictment should have been prosecuted, as well.
This Black man is serving as one of the armed people carrying out the intimidation, harassment, humiliation and, often times, violent assaults on everyday people — usually Black, Brown, immigrant and “other” — in the service of the power structure. In this instance, he carried the “real” job of the cops to its logical conclusion. Noor killed a woman who had done nothing to him and for that he should go to prison.
There have been several cases, especially over the last few decades, that should have undoubtedly been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
But, Hennepin County prosecutors — including presidential-hopeful Amy “hang ‘em high” Klobuchar and Michael Freeman (who has held the post on and off for nearly 25 years) — have always declared the cops justified in killing unarmed human beings.
During that time, they have made jurisprudence history with the tales they have spun to clear officers, who were clearly guilty of, at the very least misconduct or malfeasance of duty and, at worst, manslaughter or murder.
Why were there no elaborate tales spun to clear Noor? Why were there no calls for empathy, no crocodile tears for the usually unrepentant, unregenerate, unremorseful and cowardly back-shooters? Why was there no knee-jerk rush to defend Noor by the usually loquacious, opinionated and bigoted president of the Minneapolis Police Federation at the time?
There was also no rushed statement automatically defending Noor or justifying his actions by Minneapolis police administration.
What pray-tell could be the difference in this case? Undoubtedly, it is because Noor is a Black Muslim Somali cop who shot a White Australian woman.
The police administration’s abandonment makes suckers out of cops of color who portend that they are all in this together, this gang of “blue lives.” Obviously, the “blue code” is tossed out if a cop of color physically violates or, as in this case, kills someone who is White and middle to upper class.
And this is not to cast disparagement upon Damond. According to her neighbors and everyone who knew her, she was the kindest of souls, a spiritual woman who even held workshops around spirituality.
But, this is in direct contradiction to the fact that when a person puts on the “blue,” they have chosen the side of the power structure and have sworn allegiance to it and everything and everybody that carries out its will.
It’s why there is a “blue wall of silence” and the so-called nice guy cops fail to turn in the thumpers, sociopaths and avowed bigots who are consciously recruited to maintain capitalist social relations, which is a fancy way of saying rich White folks on top and everybody else on the bottom.
People of color have to be absolutely clear on this point: when their community member puts on that uniform, they indeed may remain decent and fair-minded, but they have chosen a side.
No matter how this plays out, there will be lots of questions. Ultimately, Noor’s fate rests on the question of how the jury views him. Will they seem him as Black or Blue?
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.