mike freeman speaking

2016 Highlights

Introduction

mike freeman

Throughout my public career, first in the Minnesota Senate, and then as the Hennepin County Attorney, I have believed strongly in sharing as much information as possible with my constituents. That belief, blended with new technology, brought unprecedented daylight to our most difficult decisions in 2016.

Spurred by officer-involved shootings around the country, and then by the tragic death of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, we discarded a 35-year-old practice of taking those cases to a grand jury. Instead, on all officer-involved shootings, I will make the decision on whether to prosecute the officer and then we will share our decision, analysis and the evidence on our website for all to see.

I am also pleased with our work in 2016 to keep more people out of the criminal justice system. Specifically, we helped convince the legislature to imprison fewer people with small amounts of drugs and turn them over to programs to end their addiction. We also implemented alternative methods to deal with juveniles who break curfew.

Mike Freeman's signature

Mike Freeman
Hennepin County Attorney

Download the full 2016 Hennepin County Attorney highlights (PDF)

Openness and accountability

justice for jamar protest

Case highlights

jamar clark march

Share information

On March 30, 2016, surrounded by community activists and local and national media, I announced that no charges would be brought against the officers in the death of Jamar Clark. I explained the legal standards for charging a police officer who uses deadly force on the job, laid out the evidence we considered, and showed video taken that night. Almost simultaneously, we posted our report, the videos and the evidence to our website. Anyone could look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

money and handcuffs

Go after white collar criminals

Our Complex Crimes unit charged Rona Griffin with defrauding the state of more than $1 million by filing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of her clients. She was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Stephanie Davis embezzled nearly $2 million from her employer and was sentenced to 68 months. Three child care centers pleaded guilty to defrauding the state’s Child Care Assistance Program by inflating the number of children attending their centers. They were fined $70,000 and must pay restitution of $168,000.

university of minnesota building

Prosecute sexual assaults

We obtained a guilty plea and prison sentence against Daniel Drill-Mellum for raping at least two women near the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Initially, we were unable to charge the first case and Drill-Mellum left the country. But following the hard work of a University of Minnesota police detective and two of our own investigators, we eventually charged both cases and tracked Drill-Mellum so he could be arrested when he re-entered the United States.

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Protect children

We filed criminal charges against Moses Wazwaz, a deadbeat dad who ignored a judge’s civil orders to pay support for his children. He pleaded guilty to felony non-support and agreed to pay $70,000.

no gun sign

Prosecute gun crimes

In September 2015, three men engaged in a gun battle in downtown Minneapolis, firing at least 27 shots. All three were prosecuted in 2016, with sentences of 120, 108 and 36 months.

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Charge drug dealers

We charged Beverly Burrell for selling heroin in Hennepin County. The drugs she sold resulted in numerous overdoses and the deaths of four people in three counties.

Serving residents

women talking with lady

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office is here to serve residents.

10 million a year in potential savings graphic

We are keeping addicts out of prison.

In 2016, there were 2,649 cases for drug sale / possession as the primary charge. With changes to laws this could potentially save the state $10 million annually by reducing prison populations.

number of people who reviewed the Jamar Clark case

We are committed to transparency.

In one week following the March 30, 2016, press conference about our decision in the Jamar Clark case, hundreds of thousands of people reviewed the reports and videos.

opened cases

We seek justice.

As the largest public law office in Minnesota, with more than 400 employees, we handle tens of thousands of adult felony, juvenile and civil cases each year. Our office is grouped into:

20,149

We advocate for victims and witnesses.

Victim Services offers assistance and protection for crime victims and witnesses in a safe and respectful environment.

In 2016, 14,242 people contacted our Domestic Abuse Service Center for legal support and social services they needed as a result of domestic violence experienced personally or by a family member or friend.

Contact us

Hennepin County Attorney
C-2000 Government Center
300 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487

Phone: 612-348-5550
Email: citizeninfo@hennepin.us

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