Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he's sorry for caught-on-video comments he made last week criticizing the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's investigation into the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
"I was wrong to discuss the agency's work on the Justine Damond case in a public setting," Freeman said in a statement. "On Saturday, I apologized personally to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman." Freeman's statement was also videotaped and posted online.
Freeman also said that he will "share news about the status of our charging decision next week."
His spokesman, Chuck Laszewski, did not say if the actual decision will be announced. "It means we will bring everybody up to speed on everything we possibly can," Laszewski said.
Three activists videotaped themselves last week asking questions of Freeman about the Damond case and whether Officer Mohamed Noor will be charged in the July 15 shooting.
Freeman responded that he doesn't yet have the evidence to charge Noor, and blamed the BCA.
"I've got to have the evidence, and I don't have it yet. And let me just say, it's not my fault. So if it isn't my fault, who didn't do their jobs? It's called investigators, and they don't work for me. And they haven't done their job," he told the activists.
After Freeman's comments were made public, Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday defended the BCA's investigations into officer-involved shootings, saying that criticizing the quality of their investigations is "destructive and detrimental."
Damond, a native of Australia, was shot and killed after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her southwest Minneapolis home. When the police arrived, Noor fired from the squad car's passenger seat, striking Damond as she approached the driver's side window, according to information previously released by the BCA.
Noor has declined to speak with investigators. Freeman said in the video that Noor's partner, Matthew Harrity, "just gave us [expletive]."
"So guess what? I've got to figure out angles of the shot, gun residues, reckless use of force experts," he said.
Freeman's comments prompted the Damond family attorney, Bob Bennett, to say he wanted another agency to investigate the case.
"If the investigation is as flawed as we are led to believe, [the BCA] should be apologizing," he said Monday.
A BCA spokesman declined to comment on Freeman's statement Monday.
In that statement, Freeman said he talked to the activists because he felt it was his responsibility to respond to constituents.
"However, 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," he said. "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 also said that he wanted to address the concerns of Damond's family and others who are "unhappy that no charges have been filed yet in this case."
He said investigators and members of his office "have been working nonstop to gather all the evidence, follow every lead, and bring this matter to a resolution."
"While some clamor for swift justice, only careful, detailed work and careful analysis brings us real justice," he said. "That is what this case deserves and that is what it will get."
Freeman has said that he will announce his charging decision by the end of the year, but recently softened on that stance saying "that's our goal."