We hear a great deal about “privilege” in America these days, but the truth is that those who are supposed to have it do not, and those who claim to be marginalized are actually the elites. Anyone who doubts this should study the case of Mohamed Noor, the Somali Muslim migrant cop in Minneapolis who shot an unarmed woman, Justine Damond, to death. His murder conviction was recently overturned, and now he has been sentenced to less than five years in prison for manslaughter. Despite the appalling leniency of this, some people are enraged that he got that long a sentence. Of course. The privileged expect their privileges to be unstinting.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Noor’s sentence was “the most the judge could impose but less than half the 12½ years he was sentenced to for his murder conviction that was overturned last month.” Noor “was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual U.S.-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married. But the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out Noor’s murder conviction and sentence last month, saying the third-degree murder statute didn’t fit the case because it can only apply when a defendant shows a ‘generalized indifference to human life,’ not when the conduct is directed at a particular person, as it was with Damond.”
Oh. Yeah, sure. In other words, “We wanted to make sure this guy didn’t serve hard time, and we found a way.” This was because Noor is a member of a privileged victim class: “Noor, who is Somali American, was believed to be the first Minnesota officer convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Activists who had long called for officers to be held accountable for the deadly use of force applauded the murder conviction but lamented that it came in a case in which the officer is Black and his victim was white. Some questioned whether the case was treated the same as police shootings involving Black victims.”
Noor’s father, Mohamed Abass, was enraged. He “denounced Quaintance on his way out of the courthouse as ‘the worst judge in Minnesota’ and ‘very hateful.’ Speaking to reporters, he said, ‘This judge hates (the) Somali community’ and said he believed racism was a factor in her decision to impose the toughest sentence she could.”
Of course! Racism is everywhere, right? Why not here?
Back on planet earth, Mohamed Noor’s father is furious that this sentence is so long, but it is actually a very light sentence for killing a human being, and reflects Mohamed Noor’s privilege as a Somali Muslim migrant in Minneapolis. He was the first Somali Muslim on the Minneapolis police force. In 2016, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed her excitement about that fact: “I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.”
Hodges wasn’t excited because Mohamed Noor had the skills necessary to become a fine police officer. She was only excited because he represented a religious and ethnic group that she was anxious to court. And it became increasingly clear — as we learned about Mohamed Noor’s nervousness and jumpiness and lack of respect for women, and from his own account of events that he relayed to friends (that he was “startled” and reacted by opening fire) — that Mohamed Noor was not cut out to be a policeman. He did not have the temperament for it, and if he hadn’t killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, he would likely have done something similar at some point.
Mohamed Noor was not competent to be a police officer. If he had not been a Somali and a Muslim, he never would have been on the force at all. Identity politics kills. If there was any lesson to be drawn from the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, that was it. The city of Minneapolis was so eager to have a Somali Muslim police officer on the force that it hired a man who had been found incompetent to hold the job. Even worse, Minneapolis officials did not fire him even when he proved that he was indeed unfit to be a cop.
And now, less than five years for killing a woman. Amid all the hysteria and propaganda about “white supremacy,” Mohamed Noor’s story shows who has the real privilege in America today.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.