Whether to allow 3-D videos in Minneapolis ex-cop murder trial still up in the air

As the trial of Mohamed Noor continues, use of a new technology for evidence presentation is at the center of a debate between prosecutors and defense attorneys

Mohamed Noor
Former Minneapolis Police officer Mohamed Noor leaves the Hennepin County Government Center during a break from his trial on April 1, 2019 in Minneapolis. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Whether to allow laser scanners with the ability to create 3-D videos is being debated before the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who is accused of killing Australian woman Justine ­Ruszczyk Damond gets underway.

Noor, 33, a Somali-American fatally wounded Damond, 40, a white Australian, on July 15, 2017, while responding in an alley to her call to report a possible sexual assault. He shot her when she approached his squad car, after his partner reportedly heard a loud noise. She was unarmed.

READ MORE: Trial of Black Minnesota cop accused in fatal shooting to begin

Now both prosecutors and defense are battling out whether the new technology, which state investigators have used at least once in the past to record and document crime scenes, should be admissible during Noor’s trial, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Amy Sweasy and Patrick Lofton, both Assistant Hennepin County attorneys, say the 3-D images are important to back up or challenge witness testimony. But defense attorneys say they create a “mysterious atmosphere” which presents more challenges than answers.

“Essentially, it’s like the MRI of a crime scene,” Lofton said while arguing for the judge to allow the videos during trial, The Star-Tribune reported. “I just don’t think we should be afraid to put it in front of a jury just because it’s new to us.”

Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance didn’t decide during Tuesday’s court hearing but said she would rule soon.

READ MORE: Police union claims black officer who killed white woman is being treated more harshly by prosecutor

In the videos at the center of debate, Damond is seen barefoot and lying on her back near the squad car of Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity. Damond’s face is not shown on the videos nor where she was struck by the single bullet that took her life, leaving Defense attorney Thomas Plunkett to comment that the 3-D imagery provides an “ethereal view” that doesn’t represent the true details of the scene. “I don’t think this is helpful,” Plunkett said, according to the newspaper.

Noor is on trial on second and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. His trial began on Monday with jury selection and was expected to resume Wednesday.

READ MORE: Minneapolis cop charged with murder after shooting woman who reported a sexual assault