MINNEAPOLIS – The Hennepin County attorney said that a decision about whether or not to file charges regarding the fatal Minneapolis police shooting of Justine Damond can be expected by the end of the year.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement Monday that usually somewhere between four and six months can pass from the time an officer fires a fatal shot, until the time the county attorney’s office makes a charging decision. He expects to have the decision made before the close of 2017 however.
Australian national Justine Damond was shot by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor. She was struck once fatally in the abdomen. Noor was one of two officers who arrived on the scene after Damond called police to report a possible sexual assault happening near her home. Noor may have been startled by nearby fireworks, and reached across his partner to shoot through the driver side window, killing Damond, Alpha News reported previously.
Freeman said that his office has received a number of emails and phone calls from citizens demanding that Noor be charged immediately. Freeman also claimed that the emails are “ascribing all kinds of nefarious reasons as to why we haven’t done so.”
“The truth is, we are following the same procedure we have with the three previous officer-involved shootings,” Freeman said in the statement. “That procedure requires a thorough investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to make sure that when we receive the evidence of the case to undertake the charging decision, we have a complete understanding of what occurred before and during the incident. Once the investigation is complete, the file will be turned over to this office and the consideration of whether to charge begins.”
Previously the Hennepin County attorney’s office would have convened a grand jury which would have determined if Noor should be charged with a crime. Freeman broke that long standing practice when determining whether to bring charges against officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark. Freeman and his team will now personally make the decision on what charges, if any, to bring against officers involved in fatal encounters.
Freeman claims that this policy change will allow for greater transparency in the charging process.