A prosecutor urged the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday to uphold the third-degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman who had called 911 in 2017, saying a reversal would make it impossible to prosecute other officers on the same charge.
But defense attorney Caitlinrose Fisher argued that the Minnesota Court of Appeals erred in February when it affirmed Mohamed Noor’s conviction. She argued that the language of Minnesota’s third-degree murder statute, backed by case law, requires that a defendant’s actions be directed at more than one person, and that the law is meant for cases such as indiscriminate killings.
The state law defines third-degree murder as “an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.” A central dispute is whether “dangerous to others” must be read as plural, or if the fatal act can be directed at a single, specific person. The high court’s ultimate decision has repercussions for four other ex-officers charged in the death of George Floyd, another high-profile police killing.