August E-News: Status of case regarding shooting of Justine Damond

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August 28, 2017


We serve justice and public safety through our commitment to ethical prosecution, crime prevention, and through innovative and reasoned client representation.

Status of case regarding officer-involved shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Photo of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

Everyone in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office was saddened by the tragic shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond  by a Minneapolis Police Officer on July 15.

We have received some emails and phone calls from members of the community demanding that we charge the officer immediately and 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.

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.

In the past, this office would then have convened a grand jury to determine if the officer should be charged with a crime. However, 18 months ago, I broke that precedent and said that from now on, I would make the charging decision, not a grand jury. That allowed for more transparency and accountability regarding the decision. We will follow that practice in this case. So, once the file is turned over to our office, I will thoroughly review the investigation with several of our most senior prosecutors and make a decision.

While I have no way of knowing how long the investigation and review will take, usually from the time of the officer firing the shot until our office’s announcement of a decision, four to six months have elapsed. I fully expect a decision in this case before the end of 2017.

mike signature

Connecting with community members on National Night Out

Group photo of County Attorney staff
Here are some of the 275 staff members who participated in National Night Out.

On National Night Out, we always enjoy visiting different neighborhoods and  meeting people. It gives us a chance to hear from folks and answer your questions.

This year, 275 staff members from our office attended more than 400 block parties and community events throughout Hennepin County. We like talking with you about the justice system and providing crime prevention tips. The good food you share with us is a definite bonus!

Check out our photo album from National Night Out.

Former Miss America guilty of price tag switching fraud

Jennifer Klein photo

A Hennepin County District Court jury took less than three hours to find former Mrs. America Jennifer Kline guilty of theft by swindle for switching price tags on clothes she purchased from Macy’s.

Last week, the jury found Kline, 51, of Wayzata, guilty of the single felony count of theft by swindle and they determined that the amount of the theft was more than $1,000 but less than $5,000. Sentencing was set for Oct. 18.

“We appreciate the fine work of the jury, which agreed with the good work of the Edina police and our prosecutors,” Mike Freeman said. “This little scheme of Ms. Kline’s was wrong and it was clearly driven by greed. The jurors were not fooled by attempts to blame Macy’s and their liberal return policy for her criminal conduct.”

Kline was crowned Mrs. America in 1989 and also was a television host on ShopNBC/Evine Live.


Michael O. Freeman
Hennepin County Attorney

300 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis, MN 55487
612-348-5550 -