Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has apologized for blunt comments he made on a secretly recorded video.
The video, recorded by activists who confronted Freeman at a holiday party, depicted the prosecutor explaining the slow pace of progress on possibly charging Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis cop who shot and killed Justine Damond.
Tonight, public employee Union members, People of Color Union Members, and @tcc4j confront Hennepin County Government attorney Mike Freeman to convict MPD officer Noor for the murder of #JustineDamond. Freeman made excuses about "being sure," "not having enough evidence," and "convicting innocent people!" We confronted his lies! Mike, you and the "justice system" convict innocent working and people of color every day! You lied about the evidence regarding the murder of #JamarClark and countless others..... We refute your lies! Freemen couldn't handle the truth and quickly ran for the door of our Union hall!
Freeman told the activists that his office was still waiting on findings from investigators, who "haven't done their job," he said. That reference was to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the agency which handles officer-involved police shootings.
Following Freeman's statement, Gov. Mark Dayton said impugning the BCA's work is "destructive." On Monday, in his first public comments since the video came out, Freeman apologized publicly, saying he has also apologized directly to Mona Dohman, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.
Freeman said he considers it his duty as a public servant to speak with constituents, "and explain what I was doing and why," which Freeman said he did at the Minneapolis AFL-CIO holiday party.
"However," he continued, "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 address Damond's family, and other people interested in seeing a resolution to the investigation. "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."
Freeman adds that his office will have news about the charging decision against Noor "next week."
Freeman also released his statement via video, which can be seen below.
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