Police Abuse

Lack of Transparency on North Dakota Police Shooting Spurs Scathing Editorial

Authorities blame involvement of multiple agencies for info issues, say they're trying to be as transparent as possible.

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Grand Forks Herald

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a multi-county chase in North Dakota ended with a suspect, David James Elliot, whose wife says he was unarmed, shot six times by University of North Dakota cops as he sat in his pick-up truck in the parking lot of a local hospital. A police report on the incident accuses Elliot of fleeing from police, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving, all allegations appearing to stem from the chase itself.  Elliot remains in the hospital and will require facial reconstruction surgery according to his wife. Elliot was not arrested and there are no police officers monitoring him at the hospital.

The local police won't release details on the shooting, telling the Grand Forks Herald that media inquiries should be directed to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), which is investigating the shooting. But the attorney general's office, which supervises the BCI, tells the Herald that while that agency is investigating the shooting the local police are responsible for media inquiries.

Police have yet to say what the chase of Elliot began over, which officer was involved in the shooting, or what prompted the shooting, leading the Herald to run an editorial calling the police's lack of transparency "unaccountable." The Herald notes:

Want to breed public distrust of the police and law-enforcement in general? Here's a checklist on how to do it:

  • Withhold basic information and let rumors run rampant in coffee shops and on social media sites.
  • Appear unorganized and ignorant of basic protocols, such as which agency is actually in charge of public information.
  • Adopt a "nothing to see here" approach when the whole darn town knows (and sees) otherwise.
  • Disregard state law, which states that agencies are required to provide information in these types of incidents, including a chronology of events as well as initial offense report information showing the offense, date, time, general location, officer and a brief summary of what happened.

"Silence breeds mistrust, and with good reason," the Herald editorializes, hoping the public demands more information. Read the whole thing here.

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  1. I hope they’ve got other work for their police beat reporter to do.

    1. He or she could use this website to help craft explanations: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/…..rator.html

      1. I meant that after being critical of the department, the cops will likely be hostile to any of the paper’s reporters. So the police beat reporter will no longer have anything to report.

        1. Just losing his job would be the best thing. In a small town like Grand Forks, it is hard to hide from cops if you have pissed them off.

          I’m thinking he is going to have to find a new home not on the prairie.

        2. Or his next report is in the first-person.

  2. “Investigators are examining video footage from officer squad car cameras, body-worn cameras and cameras mounted on Altru Hospital, said Grand Forks Police Lt. Dwight Love.”

    At least there is video. Hopefully they’ll share it after their investigation is complete.

    1. Video clearly shows this was a good shoot:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhm1X1FvC_U

      1. Will the police officers involved eventually be fed into a woodchipper? If so, I’m all in favor.

        1. Uffda, unfortunately I don’t think so.

          I hope the facial reconstruction works, or he is doomed to spend his life as a “funny looking guy”.

          1. Who will be ordered by a judge to wear a mask so as not to cause disturbance of the peace.

  3. shot six times by University of North Dakota cops as he sat in his pick-up truck in the parking lot of a local hospital. A police report on the incident accuses Elliot of fleeing from police, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving, all allegations appearing to stem from the chase itself.

    PapayaSF approves.

  4. So here is what the local landscape looks like 3 miles from the hospital where he ended up getting shot.

    http://tinyurl.com/ouuorey

    As you can see, it would be pretty hard to pose a threat to anyone or escape given that GF is located on an ancient lake bed and is utterly flat.

    It is also weird that they capped him in a hospital parking lot. I guess we should be grateful that this guy wasn’t driving his pregnant wife to the ER to deliver a kid.

    I’m guessing it was real bad, or the cops would have released something.

    1. Mein gott! Look at the housing density! He might have eventually run someone over, maybe!

  5. Police have yet to say what the chase of Elliot began over, which officer was involved in the shooting, or what prompted the shooting, leading the Herald to run an editorial calling the police’s lack of transparency “unaccountable.” The Herald notes:

    It takes time to get stories together. It’s like we’ve never done this before.

    1. Maybe they could claim that they live so far out in the sticks that they just got news about Dorner and his rampage last week. Then they could be forgiven for shooting up a truck with panic fire, right?

    2. It is now SOP to wait and see if any recordings surface from the public. That way, the narrative can be modified to match the recording.

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  7. Sioux Suck!

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  9. “Police have yet to say what the chase of Elliot began over”

    Odds are, this began with some hotshot wanting to “enforce” some chickenshit traffic statute such as no seatbelt or drinking from a sippy cup.

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