Ahmed Ismail met Mohamed Noor more than a decade ago on the soccer fields of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.
Ismail had just started an organization that focused on teaching young, Somali-American youth soccer. He said Noor began helping out around the field. He continued to volunteer after becoming a Minneapolis police officer.
“He used to come sometimes with the uniform, just laughing, standing, talking to interacting with people,” Ismail said in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
Ismail was one of dozens of people who wrote letters of support to Judge Katherine Quaintance ahead of Noor’s sentencing for murder and manslaughter. A jury convicted him in April for the on-duty police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Quaintance will review the letters, as well as victim impact statements, before handing down Noor’s sentence.
Ismail described Noor as a quiet, but respectful man who served as an inspiration and role model to youths.
“I believe a good citizen deserves a second chance,” he said.
Ismail said he’s watched the impact of the shooting, the charges and the convictions play out in the community.
“When I’m talking to the families, when I’m talking to the mothers or the young people who want to become an officer, when they see this situation, they just back out,” he said. “They don’t want to anymore.”
Noor’s sentencing hearing is set for Friday morning at 9 a.m.
A spokesperson who represents the Ruszczyk family said they did not have a comment ahead of the sentencing.