Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman issued a short statement Thursday about "our impending decision" on whether to file charges against the Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond last July.
He acknowledged that "many people in the county, the state and Australia ... have criticized this office for taking too long in what they consider to be an open-and-shut case.
"However, there is good reason to take real care in our review to ensure we know exactly what happened and have the evidence to support our decision on whether or not to file charges," he said.
Freeman noted that laws governing the use of deadly force are different for police from those for regular citizens.
"The law requires us to view an officer's actions from the perspective of a reasonable peace officer, understanding that they must make split-second decisions," the statement said. "Second, in order to determine whether the actions were reasonable, we must know what happened before, during and after the fatal incident.
"As a result, we have been making sure we have all the necessary information to make our decision," it said.
Damond, a native of Australia, was shot by officer Mohamed Noor. She had called 911 the night of July 15 after she heard a woman screaming in the alley behind her south Minneapolis home. When Noor and his partner, officer Matthew Harrity, arrived, Damond approached the car.
Noor, in the passenger seat, shot across Harrity, fatally hitting Damond in the stomach.
In the past months, Freeman has repeatedly said he would make a charging decision before the end of the year. But he backed off that statement in recent days.
On Dec. 13, he was recorded at a union event saying Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators "haven't done their job" and he did not yet have enough evidence to file criminal charges.
Noor has declined to speak with investigators. Freeman said in the video that Harrity "just gave us [expletive]."
Freeman later apologized for making those comments in public, after Gov. Mark Dayton praised the BCA's work and said the criticism was "destructive."
On Wednesday night (Thursday morning, Australia time), Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, held a short news conference in Sydney, saying the family is "deeply concerned about the possibility that the initial investigation was not done properly or with the greatest sense of integrity or completeness."
He urged Freeman to continue to pursue the investigation and to be diligent, honest and complete.