Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Tuesday that he has asked the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to expand its investigation into the shooting death of Jamar Clark.
In an interview, Freeman said, "What we discovered in the case is that a number of things were not completed and they were sent back [to the BCA] to get done. New things have to be investigated."
Freeman said he still hopes to have a decision on charges by the end of March.
Chuck Laszewski, Freeman's communications director, said Tuesday afternoon, "We are not prepared to speculate if there will be a delay and if so how long it will be, but we've worked real hard to be transparent about the Jamar Clark case and if we see we can't make the March 31st date we will let the public know."
Freeman declined to elaborate on what precisely his office had requested of the BCA, but said, "If certain tests do not give results, we are going to have to try something."
He also added: "It is not unusual at all to send things back and have additional investigation done."
Clark, a black man, was shot in a scuffle with two white police officers in north Minneapolis on Nov. 15. He died Nov. 16. His death touched off a series of demonstrations demanding the officers be charged.
Some witnesses say Clark was handcuffed at the time he was shot, while the Minneapolis Police Federation says Clark was not handcuffed and was reaching for an officer's gun.
The two officers, Mark Ringgenberg, 30, and Dustin Schwarze, 28, were on administrative leave but returned to police desk jobs in January.
The BCA finished its investigation of Clark's death and gave the results to the Hennepin County attorney's office this month.
In an e-mail Tuesday, Bruce Gordon, BCA spokesman, said a prosecutor's request for more investigation was "not unusual when a case is presented to a county attorney." Gordon wrote that "it's part of the prosecutorial review process. That's why this remains an open and active investigation."
Freeman also disclosed Tuesday he had major surgery Saturday morning after he slipped on some icy steps and tore ligaments in his leg.
He said his mobility was limited and he would remain at home, but he did not know for how long. He said his injury would not inhibit work on the issue.
"I have put everything else aside," he said. "All of my working time will be spent on this case."
He said that other staff in his office also were working on it.
"I know there is a tremendous amount of interest in this case and we are trying to move expeditiously on it," he said. "But in every case like this, there is usually something that needs to be done. That is what is happening right now."
Grand jury or not?
Freeman has previously said he planned to take the case to a grand jury to determine if the officers should be indicted.
During demonstrations outside the Fourth Precinct last fall, protesters demanded that Freeman bypass the grand jury procedure.
For the past two Fridays, demonstrators have jammed into the lobby of Freeman's office, demanding he make the decision on whether to charge the officers himself. The group, Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar Clark, contends Freeman is using the grand jury as a cover for not accepting the responsibility for deciding whether to charge the officers.
More "Freeman Friday" demonstrations outside his office are planned. The protesters have expressed doubts that the officers will be charged.
Freeman's office has previously said that in taking the case to a grand jury, he is following a policy that has been in place in his office for decades.
Asked Tuesday if he was still wedded to having the grand jury decide the matter, Freeman responded, "I am not answering that question."
Staff writer David Chanen contributed to this article.