No charging decision in Justine Damond case this year, investigation continues into 2018

- The Hennepin County Attorney announced there will not be a charging decision in the fatal officer-involved shooting case of Justine Damond this year.

According to a release, the investigation will not be completed by December 31 and will continue into 2018.

Damond was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor on July 15. In August, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman had said he planned to have a charging decision by the end of the year.

“A dedicated team in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has been working diligently since we received the case in mid-September,” Freeman said. “Our goal was to complete the review and make a decision on whether or not to bring charges by the end of the year. We are getting more information and evidence and additional investigation must be completed. As I have mentioned before, the investigation and review of the case will not be rushed. It is more important to get it right than to get it done quickly.”

Freeman said he also spoke with Damond's family expressing "deepest sympathies" for not having decision by the end of the year. He also told the family there is "no timetable for when the decision will be made."

This announcement comes about a week after Freeman apologized for comments he made about the case. Members of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar spoke to Freeman at a holiday party and recorded their conversation. During which he said that the investigators on the case hadn't "done their job."

In November, months after the shooting, Fox 9 learned from sources the Hennepin County Attorney's Office had asked its own investigators to join BCA investigators to get voluntary interviews with police officers who responded to the shooting scene.

Damond family statement:

We have lost our beloved Justine Damond Ruszczyk.

We are still trying to come to terms with this tragedy and we are struggling to understand how and why this could happen.

The family, in Australia and in the USA, is devastated by our loss.

We want to see the investigation reach a conclusion, as soon as possible, so that we have some resolution to the tragedy.

We are in constant contact with the Australian Government, and representatives of the US Government and Minnesota State authorities.

We will not comment on any of the events surrounding, or since, Justine’s death.

We ask that you give us time and space to grieve.

An attorney representing the Damond family also released this statement:

We support Mr. Freeman’s decision to take additional time to ensure the investigation is rigorous and complete. We want justice and appreciate the support from all those who want the same. We ask for the public’s patience to allow the investigation to continue. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo statement:

I am aware of the statement issued by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman today.

The tragic shooting death of Ms. Justine Ruszczyk Damond has impacted so many people here in Minneapolis and beyond our state.

The MPD will continue to await the conclusion of this independent investigation and the Hennepin County Attorneys charging decision.

Attorney Tom Plunkett, who is representing Officer Noor, statement:

Officer Noor extends his thoughts and wishes to the Ruszczyk Damond family. I am concerned by the statement’s suggestion that Mr. Freeman has taken the investigation in-house. Objectivity and Integrity are the keys to “get it right” recent developments do give us pause on this point.

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