WATCH: Minnesota DA Claims Not Enough Evidence to Prosecute Justine Damond’s Killer

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a group of union members Wednesday that he does not have enough evidence to decide yet whether he’ll file charges against Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, and he blamed “investigators” for not doing their jobs.

Noor fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk from the passenger seat of his squad car through the driver’s side window after he and his partner, officer Matthew Harrity, responded to a 911 call on July 15.

Ruszczyk, known professionally as Justine Damond, had called police to report that she thought she’d heard a woman yell for help outside her home in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood, telling the 911 operator she was worried someone was being attacked.

Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar posted the prosecutor’s conversation with a group of union members during the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation holiday reception Wednesday night on the activist group’s Facebook page.

Freeman’s remarks came after one of the activists asked him why he hadn’t yet announced charges in the case against Noor.

“I’ve got to have the evidence and I don’t have it yet. And let me just say, it’s not my fault,” Freeman said in the video. “So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their jobs? … Investigators, and they don’t work for me. And they haven’t done their job.”

Freeman did not say specifically which investigators he was talking about or the agency they worked for.

State investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension took over the case following the shooting. On Sept. 12, the BCA said it had completed its investigation into the shooting and turned it over to Freeman to consider whether to charge Noor with a crime.

Freeman has said that he expected to review the evidence and make a decision by the end of the year on whether to charge Noor in the shooting.

In the video, Freeman tells union members: “I’m not going to make it worse by just doing a knee-jerk charge and say let the jury decide. No, no. I have to know what happened before I can charge. And that’s when I’m doing my job. And thanks for having some patience.

“Trust me. Nobody wants it done for Christmas more than me. That’s … that’s the big present I’d like to see under the Christmas tree. So thanks for listening.”

Noor’s lawyer, Thomas C. Plunkett, said Freeman’s “under the Christmas tree” reference concerned him.

“No lawyer wants their client placed under a Christmas tree as a present to a vocal segment of the community. That said, this case is about an officer that followed procedure and training,” Plunkett said. “This lead to the death of a very fine person which is a horrible tragedy, but not a crime.”

In response to Freeman’s criticism of investigators, Plunkett said the job of investigators is to gather evidence and not create it.

“I’m concerned by any supplemental investigation, especially if it is directly overseen and influenced by the county attorney,” he said.

Until now, Freeman hadn’t spoken publicly about the status of the investigation. A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said they are aware of the video and did not dispute what the prosecutor said, but declined to say more about it.

“We are working diligently on the case to complete the investigation as soon as possible,” Freeman’s office said in a statement. “Beyond that, we cannot comment at this time.”

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement that it continues to work with Freeman’s office on “this ongoing investigation” and that the entire agency file will be available “once the case is closed.”

Ruszczyk’s shooting death sent shock waves through the police force and the city that were felt across the country and the world. It led to the ouster of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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