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Walz Calls For Report From BCA On Ruszczyk Damond Investigation

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Gov. Tim Walz has asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to provide a report on how it investigated the murder of Justine Ruszczyk Damond by a former Minneapolis police officer.

Mohamed Noor is the first police officer in Minnesota history to be convicted of murder committed while in the line of duty. He shot and killed Ruszczyk Damond in the summer of 2017 after she had called 911 to report a possible rape behind her home.

After a day and a half of deliberating, the jury found Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody.

Walz's request comes in the wake of a number of public comments from Ruszczyk Damond's family and friends suggesting that the criminal investigation into her shooting death was botched by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and other comments alleging resistance from the city's police department.

"We believe this verdict was reached despite the active resistance of a number of Minneapolis police officers -- including the head of their union -- and (despite) either the active resistance or gross incompetence of the BCA," John Ruszczyk said Tuesday, "particularly at the beginning of this investigation."

The BCA superintendent, Drew Evans, provided the following statement to WCCO's Esme Murphy.

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's death is a tragedy that should not have occurred. Her family and friends continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Officer involved shooting investigations are among the most challenging conducted by the BCA. Our agents conduct thorough, comprehensive and independent investigations in order to present all the facts to a county attorney for review. In this case, BCA agents did just that, working 2,037 hours  and writing over 260 reports while working closely with the Hennepin County Attorney's office from the beginning.

Because of a potential appeal, the investigation remains open under Minnesota law. As a result, we are unable to discuss specifics of how the investigation was conducted at this time.

RELATED: Families In Mohamed Noor Trial React To Decision

When asked about the accusations that the BCA was incompetent and made mistakes in the trial, Walz said, "We have asked for and we're getting all the evidence and the background on where this came from. I need to understand what happened here and what brought up those accusations and to understand whether we can validate them and if we do, what are the processes to move to alleviate that."

The two verdicts carry a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

Noor is expected to be sentenced on June 7.

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