In a discussion on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland shed light on the outcomes of the DOJ’s probe into alleged racial bias and excessive force used by the Minneapolis Police Department in the years preceding the death of George Floyd.
However, while reviewing a case involving the killing of a white woman by a minority officer, Garland notably omitted their racial identities, the Daily Wire reported.
In the aftermath of the verdict in 2021 which found Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of Floyd’s murder, Garland announced an inquiry to unravel any “potentially systemic” issues within the police department.
Garland stated, “We found that MPD unlawfully discriminates against black and Native America people in its enforcement activities,” Garland said. “Such conduct is deeply disturbing and it erodes the community’s trust in law enforcement.”
Garland also alluded to the 2017 case involving the death of Justine Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old dual U.S.-Australian citizen who had dialed 911 to report a potential sexual assault near her residence.
Yet, in his public commentary, Garland neither categorized Ruszczyk’s death as a racially-driven act nor noted that she was white and her killer, Officer Mohamed Noor, was a person of color. After an appeal, Noor’s initial murder conviction was downgraded to manslaughter.
Garland further added, indicating the Ruszczyk shooting as an example, “MPD officers discharge firearms at people without assessing whether the person presents any threat let alone a threat that would justify deadly force.”
Ruszczyk had reportedly approached the police car in her nightwear and was speaking to the driver when Noor allegedly fired his gun, shooting her through the driver’s door. The incident, which unfolded three years prior to Floyd’s death, shocked the nation.
Noor, facing a potential 12.5-year prison sentence, later proposed a sentencing agreement that involved a fortnight in jail annually. Noor’s legal team suggested that he spends one week in a low-security prison each year on Ruszczyk’s birth and death anniversaries as a form of tribute.
The legal team wrote, “This sentence honors the memory of Ms. Rusczcyk and allows Mr. Noor to continue to serve the city. Just as importantly, it mandates that Mr. Noor will continue to consider his action and the great loss they caused.”
Ruszczyk was engaged to American entrepreneur Don Damond, and they were due to wed in August 2017. Following her death, her father, John Ruszczyk, called for the truth about the incident and demanded justice. Her fiancé, Damond, mourned her loss, saying, “The death of Justine is a loss to everyone who knew her. She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart. She was a teacher to so many in living a life of openness and kindness.”