Prosecution diminishes credibility of police witness in Noor trial

The prosecution has severely diminished the credibility of a police supervisor who is a key witness in the murder/manslaughter trial for the deadly shooting of Australia woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk.

The police witness, Sergeant Shannon Barnette was serving as the incident commander on the night the fatal shooting occurred and allegedly arrived at the scene just minutes after Ms Ruszczyk was killed.

As the incident commander, Sergeant Barnette was meant to collect all the basic information and then hand it over the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). However, prosecutors have made the case that the Sergeant was more interested in protecting Mr Noor from prosecution than being honest about the incident.

Prosecutors asked Sergeant Barnette why she turned off her body recording camera prior to speaking to Mr Noor upon arrival. Her only explanation for this decision was that she wanted to have a “private conversation” with Mr Noor.

The camera used by police in Minneapolis store the last 30 seconds of footage prior to being turned off without any audio. The recovered video shows a silent conversation between Mr Noor and Sergeant Barnette in a police squad car.

In the video, Mr Noor appears to raise his arms in a manner that the prosecution claim was meant to demonstrate how he shot Ms Ruszczyk. Sergeant Barnette denies this and says the conversation was only about how Mr Noor was feeling.

When the camera audio resumes, the Sergeant can be heard sounding surprised when acknowledging that Mr Noor shot Ms Ruszczyk from the window of his police car. Another witness testifies that Sergeant Barnette had reassured Mr Noor by speculating that his victim was “probably a drunk or drug addict”.

The most important fact for prosecutors is that Sergeant Barnette failed to supply any information that supported Mr Noor’s defence that Ms Ruszczyk had violently slapped or thumped the squad car (his justification for shooting her dead).

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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