Freeman Apologizes For Criticizing BCA's Efforts in Damond Investigation

December 18, 2017 07:13 PM

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has issued an apology to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension after he was videotaped criticizing investigators' efforts looking in to last summer's officer-involved shooting of Justine Damond in Minneapolis.

Freeman said last week he didn't have enough evidence to charge Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor because investigators "haven't done their job." 

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RELATED: Prosecutor: Not Enough Evidence Yet in Damond Shooting

Damond was shot in July when she approached Noor's squad car after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

Freeman's comments came at a holiday reception Wednesday night when he was asked why he hasn't announced charges. The activist group Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar posted the video on social media.

"Fair question," he replies on the recording. "I gotta have the evidence. And I don't have it yet. And let me just say, it's not my fault. So if it isn't my fault, who didn't do their jobs? It's called investigators, and they don't work for me. And they haven't done their job."

RELATED: Gov. Dayton: Criticism of BCA Investigations is 'Detrimental'

Gov. Mark Dayton had defended the BCA in a statement over the weekend.

On Monday, Freeman issued a statement saying he had already apologized personally to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman on Saturday.

"In my nearly 40 years in public office, I have always thought it was my responsibility to talk to my constituents when they approach me and explain what I was doing and why," read part of Freeman's statement. "That's what I did at a holiday gathering of the Minneapolis AFL-CIO when three people asked me a question about the officer-involved shooting.

"However, in doing so, I was wrong to discuss both the agency's work and what discussions we are having internally at the county attorney's office. The other mistake I made is not being aware that they were secretly recording our (conversation), obviously without my permission.

"Nonetheless, my comments, under any circumstances, were ill advised and I am sorry."

Freeman went on to say he understands those who are frustrated that no charges have been filed, but the case is complex. He added there will be more news on a decision about whether to file charges next week.

Timeline of Fatal SW Minneapolis Shooting

"Know this," the statement goes on to read. "No one cares more about justice in this matter than I do. Investigators and members of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, including me, have been working nonstop to gather all evidence, follow every lead and bring this matter to a resolution.

"Police cases, however, are very complex. They demand the most thorough and complete investigations possible. While some clamor for swift justice, only careful, detailed work and careful analysis brings us real justice.  That is what this case deserves and that is what it will get."

Tom Plunkett, Noor's attorney, responded to Freeman's apology Monday.

"I am aware of Mr. Freeman's apology," Plunkett wrote. "At this time I am just trying to do everything I can to make sure that Officer Noor is treated fairly in this process."

Credits

Frank Rajkowski

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