• 20:32
  • 16.10.2021
Prosecutor upsets Justine Damond's family

Prosecutor upsets Justine Damond's family

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Minneapolis' top prosecutor says he does not have enough evidence to charge the police officer who shot dead Australian life coach Justine Damond in an alley.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman previously flagged he would make a decision on whether to charge Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor before the end of the year, but that timeline now appears unlikely.

Mr Freeman told activists who confronted him at a Minneapolis union event, he wanted to make a charging decision by Christmas.
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"Trust me, nobody wants it done for Christmas more than me," the prosecutor said.

He added it would be "the big present I'd like to see under the Christmas tree".

This outraged Officer Noor's lawyer Thomas Plunkett.
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"I am very concerned about what Mr Freeman had to say about Officer Mohamed Noor," Mr Plunkett said.

"No lawyer wants their client placed under a Christmas tree as a present to a vocal segment of the community."

Mr Freeman's words also raise the prospect the case against Officer Noor is so weak no charges may be laid, a result that would outrage Ms Damond's grieving family and friends.
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"I've got to have the evidence and I don't have it yet," Mr Freeman told activists, who filmed the conversation and posted it on social media.

In the video Mr Freeman criticised investigators for not doing "their jobs" and revealed the key witness in the fatal shooting, Officer Noor's partner Officer Matthew Harrity, had offered little insight.

"The other cop, just gave us shit, OK," Mr Freeman said.
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"So guess what?

"I have got to figure out angles of the shot, gun residues, reckless use of force experts."

Ms Damond's family were "deeply distressed and unhappy" with Mr Freeman's remarks, Bob Bennett, the US attorney representing the family, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
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Ms Damond, 40, dressed in her pyjamas, was shot by Officer Noor after she called 911 just before midnight on July 15 to report a woman screaming in her affluent Minneapolis neighbourhood.

Officer Noor was sitting in the front passenger seat of his police vehicle in the alley and when Ms Damond approached in the darkness.

He shot across his partner Officer Harrity and out the car's window, fatally striking the Australian in the stomach.
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"Before I charge somebody I have to have sufficient admissible evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr Freeman said.
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