GFPD public information officer sprinkled false information into narrative at press conference
by Timothy Charles Holmseth
The chain of events that nearly led to the shooting death of David James Elliot began with a 911 call by Wells Fargo Bank reporting a ‘suspicious vehicle’ at their south Columbia Road location in Grand Forks.
According to Jennifer Elliot, wife of shooting victim, David Elliot, her husband was using the ATM machine when someone called 911 on him.
“[Jennifer Elliot] said police told her David was taking money out of a Wells Fargo ATM when a 911 caller reported his black truck as suspicious,” the Grand Forks Herald reported.
The 911 call resulted in Grand Forks Police being dispatched to the bank, where police say they witnessed David Elliot run a stop sign while exiting the area. GFPD officers attempted to stop Elliot’s vehicle; he fled; resulting in a chase through town reaching 100 mph.
“It was called in by somebody inside the bank,” said Lt. Dwight Love, public information officer, GFPD.
Love then speculated regarding who he thought might have made the call, and in doing so, he twice provided inaccurate information to the reporters regarding the time of the incident.
“It would be my belief it was a cleaning lady or man inside the bank,” Love said.
He then continued and justified the 911 call by claiming it was made after midnight.
“And at that time of night that seems to be a little bit suspicious for them. That’s not uncommon for us to get call from people who are cleaning crews or what not inside a building if they see a vehicle that is out of the ordinary. You don’t usually see a vehicle in the parking lot, you know, after midnight. Kind of in an off area of the parking lot,” Love said.
But according to the 911 call it was not “after midnight” – the 911 call was made at 10:40 p.m.
Love’s suggestion that David Elliot’s vehicle was “kind of in an off area of the parking lot” is in direct contradiction with Jennifer Elliot’s statement to the Grand Forks Herald that “police” told her that her husband was taking money from the ATM.
When news reporters asked Love about the ATM machines at Wells Fargo Bank, he said he didn’t know where they were. “I don’t know where the ATM is,” he said.
“I don’t know where the ATM information you’re getting came from. You know, it was a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot and that’s the information that we’re working with,” Love said.
“It’s odd that a vehicle is in the parking lot of a bank after midnight,” Love said.
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