Two weeks ago, I began watching the trial of Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis Police officer who shot Australian native Justine Damond. Since then, I’ve been getting up at 4 am, heading to the Hennepin County Government Center, going through two security checks, and surrendering all of my electronics in order to get a first hand view of the proceedings.
There are 3.5 million people in Minnesota and the court has set aside 11 first come, first served seats for the public, and 15 seats for the corporate media, which were reserved right at the beginning of the trial. Those reserved media seats often sit empty, and the public seats are regularly taken up by court employees, a rotating crew of Minneapolis City Attorneys, and the media, all of whom get there early.
In the last several days, some of the “Open” seats have been relabeled as “State” seats. In the United States, the 6th Amendment assures that citizens will receive a public trial. Nothing like that is happening in the Mohamed Noor Trial, where the media is being used as a “proxy for the public.”
The media’s attention is hyper focused on race, race, race, race, race, race, and the fact that the accused is a Muslim born in Somalia. In the meantime, Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, (D) MN, is making national news nearly every day. Racism is the huge distraction used to prevent us from talking about the fact that Mohamed Noor is an American citizen. What is being overlooked is that he’s lived in the US since he was five, and has spent the last 25 winters living in Minnesota.
He’s not Somali, he’s an American, with the responsibilities and rights afforded to citizenry.
Of the several dozen people I’ve talked to about the trial, I’ve had at least two men say they’d just as soon shoot him than give him a trial.
While Ilhan Omar is either being vilified by some for minimizing the 2001 terrorist attacks, or protected by others for telling other Muslims to get right in people’s faces for looking at them, Noor, is being held up by many as an exemplar of Muslims, Somalis, Cops, Gun owners, or even Blacks.
As I’ve been writing about for over a year now, Noor, is not a member of any of those groups. He’s a man. A man on trial for doing his job, possibly poorly, definitely with deadly outcomes.
In America, there is an app that comes installed on every phone. It’s called “911” and people use it to remove problems with deadly force, if necessary. When the jury pool in this case was asked what their experience with 911 was, every single woman mentioned at least one time that she’d called 911 when she believed another woman was in distress. Every. Single. One.
The jury pool ended up being comprised of 10 men and 2 women, in part, because nearly every one of the women questioned openly struggled with the concept of the presumption of innocence, and the idea that Justine Damond might be dead, but yet, no crime may have been committed. “She was calling for help, and ended up being shot.” The cognitive dissonance was palpable.
96% of all police homicides are men, and the majority of women would prefer to avoid the idea that this useful app comes with deadly terms and conditions. Even for them, sometimes.