Identity politics kills. If there is any lesson to be drawn from the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, that is 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. Further, it did not fire him even when he proved that he was indeed unfit to be a cop.
Fox News has reported that “the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond once put a gun to a driver’s head during a traffic stop and sometimes ignored calls, according to court filings indicating that psychiatrists and training officers voiced concerns about his fitness for duty.”
Not only that, but “[Mohamed] Noor was flagged by two psychiatrists during a pre-hiring evaluation in early 2015. The psychiatrists said he seemed unable to handle the stress of regular police work and exhibited an unwillingness to deal with people.”
The psychiatrists added: “Noor was more likely than other candidates to become impatient with others over minor infractions, have trouble getting along with others, to be more demanding and to have a limited social support network. The psychiatrists said he ‘reported disliking people and being around them.’”
But he was hired anyway. The foolishness of that decision became clear almost immediately.
“In one instance two months before the shooting, Noor reportedly pointed a gun at the head of a driver who was pulled over for giving the middle finger to a bicyclist and then passing a vehicle without signaling.”
The Minneapolis Police Department and city officials wanted Mohamed Noor to succeed so badly, he was placed on and graduated from a fast-track program to get onto the force in the first place. 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.
His competence as a police officer was always secondary to his ethnicity and religion.
Thus he remained on the force even though there were three complaints against him in two years. A neighbor reported: “He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off.” When the neighbor heard that Noor was the cop who had shot an unarmed woman, he wasn’t surprised: “When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh oh, but then when they said who it was, I was like, ‘OK.’”
None of the indications of Mohamed Noor’s unfitness to a police officer mattered to Minneapolis officials. They had too much invested in his success to acknowledge that their exercise in diversity and multiculturalism was a miserable failure. Noor was a symbol of our glorious multicultural mosaic. He was a rebuke to “Islamophobes” and proof that what they say is false. He was, for Minneapolis authorities, nothing less than the triumph of their worldview.
Apparently there was nothing whatsoever he could have done to be removed from the police force — until he killed Justine Damond. But even then, he remained on the force for months after the shooting. Noor could have marched into Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ office and announced that she would henceforth be his infidel slave, and he would have remained on the force.
If the Minneapolis Police Department hired and fired police officers based upon their fitness for the job, and not on their usefulness as symbols of Minneapolis’ commitment to diversity and resolve to fight “Islamophobia,” Justine Damond would be alive today.
This case should put an end to the hiring of incompetent police officers because of their ethnicity and religion. But it won’t.