In May 2017, Brian Oman was driving on West 24th Street when he got stuck in traffic in the midst of an intersection. The light turned red before he could get moving again.
That's when his review mirror brought the flashing lights of a Minneapolis patrol car manned by officers Mohamed Noor and Justin Schmidt. Their stop, caught by dashcam, shows them cautiously approaching the car, appearing to have guns drawn.
No doubt it's a frightening sight to see cops to both sides, brandishing weapons. The subsequent exchange does ge t momentarily testy, as Schmidt's body cam shows:
Schmidt: “You can’t proceed into the intersection – "
Oman: “I was in the intersection – "
Schmidt: “Would you shut up and let me talk?"
Yet the moment is brief and largely uneventful until the two officers return to their squad. The drawn guns, they would later say, were simply a precaution sparked by Oman's movements in the car.
Two months later, Noor would gain infamy for shooting 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Her death would lead to his conviction on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minneapolis would also agree to pay $20 million to settle a suit with her family.
A year later, Schmidt would make the news as well. He and officer Ryan Kelly responded to a 911 call of a man firing a gun in north Minneapolis. They arrived to find Thurman Blevins apparently holding a gun.
The cops ordered his arms up. Blevins took off instead. The chase, caught on body cam, shows him carrying what seems to be a gun. The officers open fire, killing him.
No charges were leveled. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman ruled that Blevins pointed a loaded gun at the cops, ignored their orders, and was a clear danger to those nearby.
Now Noor and Schmidt are headed back to court, courtesy of Oman's traffic stop two years ago.
He's filed suit for damages greater than $50,000, a standard starting price, claiming the cops "assaulted, maliciously prosecuted and negligently caused injury" when they "intentionally pointed and aimed their firearms directly at Mr. Oman's face, head, and torso."
The suit also contends that he never should have been stopped, since Minnesota law doesn't preclude a driver from entering an intersection, even if the light turns red while one's stuck in the middle. His tickets – one for failure to obey a traffic light, and another for failure to signal – were eventually dismissed.
Though both officers are named, Minneapolis is the real target. Oman claims the city knew Noor was a "safety risk to the general public."