Minneapolis, MN – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton defended the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on Friday, after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told an activist group that investigators “haven’t done their job” in investigating the officer-involved shooting death of Justine Damond.
The prosecutor cast blame on the BCA while speaking to an activist group at a union holiday reception on Wednesday, WCCO reported.
He said he was tasked with determining whether or not Officer Mohamed Noor was justified when he shot Damond, but that officers had not provided him with the information he needed to make a decision.
“I’ve got to have the evidence, and I don’t have it yet … 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, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Dayton rebuffed Freeman’s claims on Friday, calling them “destructive,” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
“The BCA is asked to investigate some of the toughest, most complex cases involving officer-involved shootings,” the governor said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in their professionalism, integrity, and thoroughness. Impugning the quality of their investigations is destructive, and detrimental in our efforts to seek and obtain justice.”
Freeman failed to explain what investigators actually failed to do. The case hinges on Freeman being able to prove that Officer Noor acted unreasonably, which is not something that’s decided by investigators.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducted a full investigation and turned over the case to Freeman for charging consideration on Sept. 12.
Damond called 911 on the night of July 15 and reported a possible assault, WCCO reported.
According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Officer Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, responded to Damond’s call.
Officer Harrity said that the officers were startled by a loud sound, and immediately afterwards Damond approached the driver’s door of the patrol vehicle. Officer Noor then shot Damond through the open driver’s window.
Freeman announced that he would personally be making the charging decision rather than sending the case to a grand jury, and has since failed to make a charging decision.
Following Dayton’s statement, Freeman did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.