Safety of GFPD officers a concern amidst BCI investigation of officer involved shooting

Concerns about physical safety of police officers validate David James Elliot’s flight response on the night he fled

by Timothy Charles Holmseth

David James Elliot had just cause to be afraid for his physical safety the night he fled police.

Why?

Because.

Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD) brass is worried about the safety of their police officers, too.

Although entirely unreported by corporate media, close analysis of statements made by the GFPD show they believe some of their officers may be in danger as the BCI investigates the shooting of David James Elliot.

During the March 3 press conference a reporter asked Lt. Dwight Love, GFPD, if any GFPD officers were on leave, and Love confirmed some were.

“There are a few officers from the Grand Forks Police Department on administrative leave. It’s a very stressful situation just being present on something like this and we want to make sure that the safety – emotionally, physically and everything with our officers is being taken car of. And also there a part of the investigation so they are going to have to speak to another agency – [the] Bureau,” Love said.

Love did not elaborate on why he thought the physical safety of the officers might be in jeopardy.

However – a close examination of the first press conference, which was on March 2, shows clear evidence that Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost was attempting to intimidate Chief Mark Nelson, GFPD, and Chief Eric Plummer, University of North Dakota Police Department (UNDPD), into going along with a false narrative regarding the case.

It occurred when a reporter asked Rost a question about the involvement of his deputies in the pursuit of David Elliot; and Rost lied on his response.

REPORTER: “The Sheriff’s Department is here – I mean, were you in on this chase before it ever got to Grand Forks?”

Sheriff Rost: “A couple of my deputies. In town here, yes”.

REPORTER: “You picked up on it when the chase was in Grand Forks?”

Sheriff’s Rost: “Correct”

REPORTER: “Can you say what was he being pursued for?”

Sheriff Rost: “Actually, the BCI is putting all this together. They have not finished the investigation yet. And they have more to do today. So when that’s complete I’m sure you’ll get more details.”

The gravity of Rost’s lie appears to be an attempt to cover something up, because Grand Forks County States Attorney David Jones would later state in a letter to Plummer that Sgt. Andy Schneider, GFCSO, pursued David Elliot on I-29 beginning somewhere near the Oslo, Minnesota interchange.

On March 5, at around 11 a.m., Write Into Action filed Grand Forks County Sheriff lied to news reporters during press conference regarding Altru shooting.  

That evening the Grand Forks Herald reported they had spoken to Rost. “Rost said state Highway Patrol troopers began following Elliott’s pickup on Interstate 29 near the Oslo, Minn., interchange on the edge of Walsh County. Sheriff’s deputies joined in near Manvel, N.D., Rost said,” the Herald reported.

There is no sign the corporate media has addressed Rost’s blatant lie regarding the location of Schneider during the first press conference.

The fact Rost lied about Schneider’s location on I-29, and Schneider following David Elliot, has tremendous implications, because it was the vehicle driven by Schneider that David Elliot allegedly rammed with his pick-up truck, only moments before he was shot by another officer.

Rost’s willingness to lie about a material fact during a televised news conference amidst an active investigation regarding an officer involved shooting of an unarmed man is chilling.

Not only did Nelson and Plummer know Rost was lying, but the North Dakota Highway Patrol also knew, because according to Jones’ letter, Schneider was following David Elliot down I-29 along with a State Trooper.

“Sometime after midnight on the morning of February 28, 2014, North Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Matthew Peschong observed the vehicle operated by Mr. Elliot near the Oslo, Minnesota exit on Interstate Highway 29. Trooper Peschong and Grand Fork’s Sheriff’s Sgt. Schneider then followed Mr. Elliot southbound on Interstate 29, observing erratic behavior,” Jones said.

Notably – the GFPD did not stay silent for long regarding Rost’s false statement on March 2. On March 3, Love made it clear where Rost’s deputy was the night of the David Elliot pursuit.

“What happened outside of our jurisdiction I really don’t feel comfortable talking about. I do know that the Highway Patrol and Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department, they were involved in following this individual – I don’t know what the speeds were or the situation, but once it entered into the city of Grand Forks then our officers got involved,” Love said.

Write Into Action has been contacted by multiple individuals with documentations that supports Whistleblower status.

Write Into Action has been asked to investigate the ‘lack of curiosity’ in public safety issues.

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