A legal stoush has broken out in the US over whether police video of Australian yoga instructor Justine Ruszczyk Damond naked and "gasping for breath in the last moments of her life" should be shown to the media and members of the public.

Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance ruled last week the police body camera video should only be viewed by the jury, lawyers and herself during Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor's murder trial, reports news.com.au.

A coalition of media organisations, led by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, challenged the judge's ruling at a hearing on Friday in the US.

Jury selection for Noor's trial in Minneapolis began on Monday and will stretch into next week.


"I am trying to protect the pictures of this woman naked and her gasping for breath in the last moments of her life," the judge said at the hearing, according to Associated Press.

Noor, a 33-year-old Somali-American, has been charged with counts of second- degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter and faces more than 40 years in jail if convicted.

Ms Damond, a 40-year-old life coach and yoga instructor who lived in Minneapolis and was weeks away from marrying her American fiance, called police just before midnight on July 15, 2017, after she heard a woman's screams and feared a sexual assault was taking place near her home.

Noor is charged in the July 2017 death of Justine Damond and faces up to 40 years behind bars. Photo / AP
Noor is charged in the July 2017 death of Justine Damond and faces up to 40 years behind bars. Photo / AP

Ms Damond was unarmed and dressed in her pyjamas when she approached Noor's police vehicle in the dark.

Noor's partner Officer Matthew Harrity was "startled" and "perceived that his life was in danger" when he heard a "muffled voice or whisper" and thump on the squad car when Ms Damond suddenly appeared, according to prosecutors.

Noor was sitting in the front passenger seat of the squad car and shot across Officer Harrity, who was driving the vehicle, and out the driver's side window striking Ms Damond in the stomach, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Noor and Officer Harrity switched on their body cameras after the shot was fired and it captured their attempts to resuscitate Ms Damond. The media coalition argued the media and the public should see what the jury sees.

The judge promised to make a quick ruling on the video footage access. Noor was fired from the police force when he was charged last year.