Affidavits show Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost and two deputies attempting to cover-up murder plot

Police affidavits reveal truth behind mysterious high-speed chase that led to shooting of unarmed man in front of Emergency Room

by Timothy Charles Holmseth

As the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) investigates an officer involved shooting of an unarmed Grand Forks man, evidence shows law enforcement officials are scrambling to fabricate a scenario that might somehow explain their collective actions.

But the attempts have led to evidence that clearly suggests there was a plot to murder David James Elliott.

The truth about the events leading up to the shooting of David Elliot is found in the probable cause affidavits filed with the Court by the Grand Forks County State’s Attorney’s office on March 25, 2015.

Bob Rost, the sheriff of Grand Forks County, and two of his deputies, are among those attempting to deceive the American public regarding specific events that took place on February 27-28, 2015, shortly before David Elliott, an unarmed man, was shot by a police officer only feet from an emergency room he was desperately trying to reach.

The affidavits were not filed with the Court until March 25, 2015, although the alleged crimes by David Elliott took place on February 27-28, 2015; approximately one month prior.

Upon close examination of the affidavits, Write Into Action believes the GFPD and GFSO are attempting to obfuscate the events of the night in question in order to conceal the specific location of two Grand Forks County deputies and their nefarious activities.

An overwhelming amount of evidence shows David Elliot was running for his life the night a shadowy cabal of police secretly pursued him and ultimately shot him.

After the shooting, law enforcement illegally waited 60 hours before providing the media with information regarding the shooting, as they waited to learn the fate of David Elliot who was in surgery.

THE SECRET PURSUIT

According to an affidavit by Officer D. Harvala, Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD), the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office (GFSO) was involved in the GFPD’s pursuit of David James Elliott that began at 10:41 p.m. on February 27, 2015.

According to Harvala, the GFSO pursued David Elliott after a GFPD supervisor terminated the pursuit.

The fact that Harvala knows the GFSO was involved in the GFPD’s pursuit is evidenced by Harvala’s specific knowledge of specific activities of the GFSO that are not otherwise noted in affidavits filed with the Court – particularly – the deployment of spike strips by the GFSO.

The GFPD knew about the deployment of spike strips by the GFSO, and Lt. Dwight Love, GFPD, specifically mentioned it during the March 3 press conference.

THE HIDDEN EVENT – SPIKE STRIPS DEPLOYED BY GFSO DEPUTIES

According to an affidavit by GFPD officer D. Harvala, the GFSO deployed spike strips against David Elliott’s vehicle.

This deployment of spike strips is not mentioned in the affidavit supplied by Sgt. Andrew Schneider and Deputy Nathan Moen, GFSO. Because it is not mentioned, it is not possible to know the time and location of the deployment.

There are no other Grand Forks deputies known to be in the field pursuing David Elliot on the night in question.

The undocumented deployment of the spike strips by the GFSO is an omission that shows the GFSO does not want the BCI to know the location and activities of the deputies during certain times on the night in question.

The only reason spike strips are ever deployed is to stop a vehicle from continuing to travel. In order to deploy spike strips, the officer deploying the strips must get out in front of the suspect’s vehicle.  This requires communication, coordination, and knowledge of the approaching vehicle’s location.

There is no acceptable explanation for the GFSO to submit an affidavit to the State’s Attorney’s office in support of felony charges against David Elliott, which include allegations of fleeing and eluding a police officer, without noting the deployment of spike strips by GFSO officers.

“Officers continued to pursue David Southbound on Interstate 29 from Gateway Drive, driving in speeds excess of 100 mph toward Grand Forks city limits and through Grand Forks County towards Thompson. The pursuit was terminated by Sgt. Ellingson, the shift supervisor, prior to deployment of spike strips by GFSO and David continued southbound on Interstate 29 after officers had terminated their pursuit,” said GFPD officer D. Harvala, in a probable cause summary.

“…the pursuit was terminated by Sgt. Ellingson, the shift supervisor, prior to deployment of spike strips by GFSOand David continued southbound on Interstate 29 after officers had terminated their pursuit”.

NO EMERGENCY LIGHTS ACTIVATED

While the spike strips deployment by the GFSO was not mentioned whatsoever in the Schneider/Moen affidavit, GFSO deputies do admit they were following David Elliott down I-29 without their emergency lights activated.

STATE TROOPER MATTHEW PESCHONG

According to a letter sent to UND Police Chief Eric Plummer from Grand Forks County States Attorney David Jones, Matthew Peschong, North Dakota Highway Patrol, “spotted” David Elliott near the Oslo, Minnesota interchange on I-29 and began to follow him.

According to Jones, Peschong “spotted” David Elliott “some time after midnight”.

The fact that Peschong “spotted” David Elliott means he was looking for Elliott and had been given a description of Elliot’s vehicle.

Peschong began to follow David Elliot south down I-29 toward Grand Forks. When Peschong reached Manvel, Schneider and Moen joined him.

SPIKE STRIPS RE-VISITED

While it is known that GFSO deputies deployed spike strips against David Elliot on the night in question, it is unknown where and/or when those spike strips were deployed.

It is possible that the deputies deployed the spike strips somewhere near Manvel as Peschong followed David Elliot from the Oslo, Minnesota interchange.

The other possibility is deputies deployed spike strips shortly after the GFPD terminated their pursuit as David Elliot headed south toward Thompson.

If the deputies deployed the spike strips near Manvel as they communicated and coordinated with Peschong, it would strongly suggest Peschong is involved in the nefarious activities taking place on the night in question.

DAVID ELLIOTT CALLED 911

Affidavits from both the GFPD and GFSO reveal that David Elliott called 911 sometime after the police initially began chasing him. Elliott advised 911 he was not going to stop; and an Altru Hospital ambulance was dispatched for him.

There is no specific information in the State’s affidavits regarding exactly what David Elliot told 911; why he refused to stop; or why an ambulance was dispatched.

DAVID ELLIOTT WAS “WEAVING FROM SHOULDER TO SHOULDER”

“David James Elliott was southbound on I-29 and was weaving from shoulder to shoulder on the interstate at times,” said the Schneider/Moen Affidavit.

The affidavit does not state the location of this driving behavior. It is not known if it was on I-29 south of Grand Forks (near Thompson – shortly after the pursuit began) or north of Grand Forks near Manvel (over an hour after the pursuit began).

The act of ‘weaving from shoulder to shoulder’ can be an evasive action by a driver attempting to keep a vehicle(s) from passing or coming up alongside.

In this instance, David Elliott may well have been attempting to keep Schneider and Moen (who may have been together in the same vehicle), as well as Peschong, behind him.

The Schneider/Moen Affidavit says, “David James Elliott was allowed to keep driving due to him communicating that he was going to stop for Altru ambulance on I-29 at the North Washington Exit”.

The Schneider/Moen Affidavit says, “Upon reaching the Exit, David James Elliott stated he would not stop for anybody”.

While it is known David Elliott would not stop for the Altru ambulance, his continued course of travel led him straight to the emergency room doors of Altru hospital.

While it is not publicly known what David Elliot told 911, it is reasonable to believe he may have already been physically injured – or shot.

GRAND FORKS COUNTY SHERIFF BOB ROST LIES DURING PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT LOCATION OF DEPUTIES

Immediately following the officer involved shooting on February 28, 2015, law enforcement refused to answer questions from the media. Law enforcement insisted the case was being investigated by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and claimed they could not comment on it.

On March 2, 2015, after the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office told the media that local law enforcement was “misinforming” the media and public, and that local law enforcement needed to handle their own media inquiries, the Grand Forks Police Department, University of North Dakota Police, and Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office finally held a press conference.

Oddly – the North Dakota Highway Patrol did not provide a representative.

During the press conference, Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost lied about the location of his two deputies on the night in question.

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 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.”

OBSERVATIONS AND TIMELINE

On February 27, 2015, at 10:41 p.m., somebody called 911 and reported a vehicle at the Wells Fargo Bank on South Columbia Road in Grand Forks as being suspicious.

Law enforcement will not identify who placed the 911 call, nor will they state what the caller thought was suspicious about the vehicle, which turned out to be owned and driven by David James Elliott, 41, Grand Forks.

Based upon the phantom 911 call, GFPD officer D. Harvala followed David Elliott’s vehicle. Harvala claims he attempted to stop Elliott after witnessing Elliott fail to stop at a stop sign. Harvala claims Elliott refused to stop, and instead, fled, leading police on a high-speed chase through town. Harvala says Elliott headed south on I-29 toward Thompson, North Dakota. At that point, according to Harvala, a supervisor, Sgt. Ellingson, terminated the pursuit.

It does not appear that David Elliot has ever been charged with violating a stop sign.

Notably – David Elliot has no criminal history beyond minor traffic offenses. There is no known explanation for Elliot’s sudden flight response to an officer pulling him over for running a stop sign.

Between 10:41 p.m. on February 27, and 12:52 a.m. on February 28, there is no indication that back-up units were called to assist Grand Forks deputies Schneider and Moen.

However, there is evidence Schneider and Moen were pursuing David Elliott without their emergency lights on, and attempted to stop Elliott’s vehicle with spike strips, although they would not mention the spike strips in their official affidavit to the Court.

According to a letter sent to UND Police Chief Eric Plummer from Grand Forks County States Attorney David Jones, Matthew Peschong, North Dakota Highway Patrol, “spotted” David Elliott near the Oslo, Minnesota interchange on I-29 and began to follow him.

According to Jones, Peschong “spotted” David Elliott “some time after midnight”. The fact that Peschong “spotted” Elliott means he was looking for Elliott and had been given a description of Elliot’s vehicle.

Schneider and Moen joined Peschong near Manvel on I-29, and followed David Elliott without emergency lights activated, as Elliott weaved from shoulder to shoulder, apparently trying to keep the law enforcement vehicles behind him.

Because David Elliot told 911 he was not stopping for law enforcement, and was apparently trying to keep law enforcement vehicles behind him, it is reasonable to believe Elliot was afraid of those police officers.

The amount of communication and coordination taking place strongly suggests the officers were communicating with each other – probably throughout the night – if not by police radio, then by personal cell phones.

At this time, which is “some time after midnight”, there is about an hour of time that is not accounted for in the timeline that began at 10:41 p.m. There is no record regarding the whereabouts and activities of David Elliot and/or all law enforcement officials involved in hunting him down.

Simultaneous to Schneider, Moen, and Peschong following David Elliott; Elliott is apparently on the telephone with 911. Elliott called 911 and an Ambulance was subsequently dispatched for him.

David Elliott desperately attempted to reach the Emergency Room at Altru hospital.

Officers with the GFPD, UNDPD, GFSO, and NDHP all attempted to stop David Elliott from reaching the Altru Hospital Emergency Room, although they were willing to allow him to stop on the side of a dark interstate to be seen by EMT’s.

Considering a UND police officer ultimately shot David Elliot six times in front of a hospital emergency room, Elliot’s instincts to avoid stopping his vehicle on the side of a dark interstate appear to be consistent with accurate survival instincts.

David Elliot’s tires were flattened by a (second) set of spike strips; these spike strips were deployed by the GFPD at the Columbia Road overpass. In his severely hobbled vehicle, Elliot continued to crawl toward the Altru hospital parking lot, where the large red letters reading URGENT CARE / EMERGENCY could be seen glowing in the distance.

David Elliot’s vehicle came to rest out in front of the Emergency Room.

David Elliott then, allegedly, accelerated his vehicle into the front bumper of the vehicle driven by Schneider. When Elliot did this, UND police officer Jerad Braaten opened fire on him – shooting him a reported six times.

David Elliot survived.

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