Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that not enough evidence exists yet to file charges against a Minneapolis police officer in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, blaming investigators who “haven’t done their job.”
The comments were made at a union event by Freeman after being confronted by activists, who were recording the interaction. They asked Freeman why it has taken so long for him to decide if Officer Mohamed Noor was justified in shooting and killing Damond on July 15.
“Fair question. I’ve got to have the evidence, and I don’t have it yet,” Freeman responded. “Let me just say it’s not my fault. So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their job? Investigators. They don’t work for me. They haven’t done their job.”
Freeman said coming to a decision “is the big present I want under the Christmas tree.”
Damond’s family was “deeply distressed and unhappy” following Freeman’s remarks, said Bob Bennett, the attorney representing the family.
“We expected a quality investigation that would be fair, complete and accurate, and apparently that hasn’t happened,” Bennett said.
The video was created by union members who were also members of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, a group formed in response to the November 2015 killing of Jamar Clark, who died in a physical altercation with two police officers.
Asked how investigators failed to do their job, Freeman responded via e-mail: “Good questions and I respect you asking them. We are working very hard to complete our review of the facts provide[d] in the investigation to date and to assist in helping to complete the investigation.”
Damond was shot and killed by Noor on July 15th after Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault taking place outside her home. Noor and his partner responded to the scene and when they arrived, Damond approached the police car, which is when Noor shot across his partner and hit Damond in the abdomen, killing her.
Should this police officer face murder charges after killing this unarmed women after she was the one calling 911 to report a potential crime?