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Hennepin Co. Attorney Mike Freeman not seeking re-election

In a released statement Freeman cites his age and length of service as the county's top prosecutor among reasons for stepping away.

MINNEAPOLIS — The video above aired on May 29, 2020.

After serving what will be 24 years in the top prosecutor's chair, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says he will not seek re-election in 2022. 

Freeman made the announcement Wednesday, saying "it's time to move on." He mentioned both his age (73) and time in office among reasons for stepping aside. 

"I am particularly proud of our never ceasing commitment to do the right thing. It is not easy work; the questions of justice are difficult, and the right path is not always clear. And we have made mistakes. But we have always done our best, sought to do the public good and told the public when we were wrong."

In a press release, Freeman cited the establishment of the Domestic Abuse Service Center (a one-stop agency for victims of domestic violence), the move to embed prosecutors in local police departments, reforms in bail reduction and pre-trial incarceration for low level crimes, and ending the use of Grand Juries in officer-involved deadly force cases as accomplishments during his time in office. 

During his time in office, Freeman has served as both President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association and the National District Attorneys Association. 

But Freeman's time as Hennepin County Attorney has not been without controversy. He has been criticized for not charging police in fatal use-of-force incidents, many involving the Black community like the shooting of Jamar Clark. He was also roundly assailed for originally filing what many saw as insufficient charges against the officers who killed George Floyd, and then requesting an expensive security detail after backlash and alleged threats. 

RELATED: Motion to remove Freeman from George Floyd case filed by former officer's attorney

Freeman says he does step away with regrets. 

"My deepest regret is that, to date, we have not been able to bring charges against the person who fired a shot that pierced a home and killed 3-year-old Terrell Mayes in December 2011. Nor have we, so far, been able to bring charges against the people who were recklessly shooting at each other and, instead, killed 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith and 6-year-old Aniya Allen and critically wounded 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett, Jr. Our efforts must never cease to stop this senseless killing of children.

Still, the bottom line of Freeman's message is that despite the challenges of a difficult mission, he and his staff have done the best they could for the people of Hennepin County. 

"I am proud of the job we did; I know this office will continue to serve justice and the people of Hennepin County well. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with you and pledge my continued best efforts in the remaining months of this term."

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