Family of Justine Damond Breaks Their Silence Over Shooting Investigation
Justine's father says the family is deeply concerned that the initial investigation was not done properly
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Justine Damond’s family is demanding a more rigorous probe into her shooting.
“We implore Mr. Freeman and the prosecutor’s office to continue to pursue a rigorous investigation and examination of evidence in the events leading to Justine’s death,” Justine’s father said.
You can read his full remarks below.
Damond was fatally shot by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor in her neighborhood in July.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman last week said investigators “haven’t done their job” in relation to the Australian woman’s shooting.
Justine’s father says the family is deeply concerned that the initial investigation was not done properly.
“The family of Justine Ruszczyk (Damond) has kept from commenting on her homicide until more details of the tragedy were known. Recent remarks in the media quoting Minnesota Hennepin County and State officials or otherwise demanding a speedy resolution to the investigation now compel us to make a public statement. I would like to recount a meeting we had with officials of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in Minneapolis soon after Justine’s death. Justine’s family from Australia, Don Damond, her fiancé, a member of our legal team from Bob Bennett’s office in the US, and officers from the BCA sat around a table. These officers spoke of their sympathy for our loss. They also promised a complete and rigorous investigation of Justine’s shooting. They assured us that they would give the county attorney all the necessary information to make a reasoned decision on whether or not to charge Justine’s shooter with a crime. They looked me in the eye and said they were committed to getting to the truth of the event. We were grateful for their promise, so that we could better understand why and how such a tragic event could occur, and so that our family could do something, anything, to prevent others from experiencing our pain in the future.
Now we hear that the Hennepin County Attorney, to whom the BCA handed its investigative results, says that the investigation has not been done to the prosecutor’s satisfaction or even to the expected levels of accuracy and thoroughness. He has since apologized for where, when and how he made those comments, but he does not say that his comments about the BCA investigation itself were unfounded, inaccurate or in any way untrue. What are we to think? We are deeply concerned about the possibility that the initial investigation was not done properly and with the greatest integrity or a sense of completeness. We are apprehensive that, perhaps, the BCA has not fulfilled its promise. At the least, Mr. Freeman’s comments cast doubt on the description of how Justine’s death occurred as it was initially put out by the BCA and the attorney for the officer driving the squad car. We implore Mr. Freeman and the prosecutor’s office to continue to pursue a rigorous investigation and examination of evidence of the events leading up to Justine’s death. We expect them to fill in any gaps in the BCA’s work honestly and fairly, but completely. We will wait patiently while this occurs, but insist that this investigation be done, and done right.
As heartbroken as our family and Don Damond are with our deeply personal loss, we acknowledge the concerns and fears of Justine’s Minneapolis community and fellow citizens of the city and nation about events such as this. While I understand that many different groups with potentially different agendas and views speak out often on this-using Justine’s name-I want to state that only her family here in Australia (and Don Damond in Minneapolis) speak for Justine and her family in seeking Justice for my daughter Justine.”