Did call to police by Wells Fargo cleaning lady interrupt drug activity involving law enforcement?
by Timothy Charles Holmseth on April 3, 2016, 1:22 P.M. CST
Was David James Elliott shot six times, including three times in the head, by a UND police officer, after a cleaning lady’s call to police interrupted drug activity in a vehicle that contained a law enforcement officer?
Evidence is emerging as Write Into Action investigates.
‘Thousands of pills’ and an ‘unidentified second person’ in the vehicle of the unarmed man shot by a UND police officer in February, 2015, is creating serious questions about the true events surrounding the Altru hospital parking lot shooting of David James Elliott.
Write Into Action has acquired a transcription of the call to police by Karen Yungen, the cleaning lady at Wells Fargo Bank, Grand Forks, who called police on February 27, 2015, reporting a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.
In the transcription, which contains no “Time” for the call, Yungen said there’s “people in the truck”.
The Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD) has never named any second person being in Elliott’s vehicle or involved in the events that unfolded, which involved:
- High speed chase
- Slow speed chase
- One hour and fifteen minute cell phone call to 911 by David Elliott after the chase began where Elliott talked to GFPD officer Matt Bullinger (Write Into Action is still pursuing a copy of that call)
- Shooting of David Elliott in the Altru hospital parking lot by UND police officer Jared Braaten
- Thousands of pills in Elliott’s vehicle
According to records obtained by Write Into Action from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Special Agent Quam reported, “Also, located during the search of the vehicle were thousands of prescription pills.”
Oddly, no criminal charges involving drugs were ever brought in the case, which is now concluded.
Statements by the GFPD appear to support Yungen’s reference to multiple persons in Elliott’s vehicle. During a press conference on March 3, 2015, Lt Dwight Love, GFPD, referred to more than one person being in the vehicle.
|Reporter (Steve Wagner/Grand Forks Herald): So did an officer actually get out of the vehicle at Wells Fargo to communicate with him or was it something less than that?
Lt. Dwight Love: I don’t believe he did. I think as soon as the officer arrived on scene, they left.
BCI documents also reveal very strange discrepancies between the time of Yungen’s 10:41 P.M. call to police, and the time of the (Yungen) call stated in the BCI interview of the responding officer, Dan Harvala.
“The cleaning woman inside the bank called in the complaint around 11:30 p.m., to 11:40 p.m.” the BCI report said.
|Grand Forks Police Department Officer Dan Harvala and Grand Forks Police Department Officer Matt Bullinger responded to a low party complaint. Grand Forks Police Department Officer Dan Harvala indicated there was a suspicious vehicle complaint from the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) pending and that once he cleared the low party complaint he responded to the suspicious vehicle complaint. Grand Forks Police Department Officer Dan Harvala said that the suspicious vehicle was for a black pickup in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Bank, Grand Forks, North Dakota. The cleaning woman inside the bank called in the complaint around 11:30 p.m., to 11:40 p.m.
The significantly later, 11:30 – 11:40 P.M. time-window, stated in the BCI report, receives support in another statement made by Lt. Love where he refers to the call being made in the “morning hours”.
|Reporter (female): What did the caller say was suspicious about the vehicle?
Lt. Dwight Love: Ummm, I guess I haven’t r… I can’t recall the report what was suspicious about that vehicle. I think it was in the Wells uhhh, Fargo bank parking lot – and it was at, in the morning hours so I think that in itself probably caused somebody to report that. That’s kind of odd at that time you know when the banks not open.
Questions also exist about how many officers initially responded to the Wells Fargo Bank suspicious vehicle call. Statements by Lt. Love during the March 3, 2015 press conference indicate multiple officers responded.
|“On Friday night, February 27, officers responded to the Wells Fargo parking lot in reference to a suspicious person. When they arrived they saw a vehicle leaving the area. They saw that vehicle commit a traffic violation. They attempted to stop that vehicle. And that led to a high speed pursuit,” said GFPD officer Lt. Dwight Love.|
The reference to multiple officers is odd, because there is no indication that any other officer except Harvala was involved in the initial attempted traffic stop of Elliott; and the BCI report does not state any other officer being with Harvala in his squad car.
Another example of Lt. Love referring to multiple police officers being involved in the very first attempt to pull Elliott over for running s atop sign is when he said, “They initiated a traffic stop.”
|Reporter (female): Yesterday Chief Nelson said that Grand Forks officer’s initiated a chase – where did it actually begin?
Lt. Dwight Love: Which one?
Reporter (female): The first one.
Lt. Dwight Love: The first one – it began just outside the Wells Fargo parking lot – I think it was at an intersection around that area where he violated a traffic stop sign – uh they initiated a traffic stop – he didn’t stop.
Write Into Action is investigating several other official statements that don’t seem to fit the official narrative given to the public by law enforcement.
One BCI entry is very odd when viewed in the chronological timeline “Trooper (Brittany) Schmidt stated at 11:30 p.m., the vehicle from the earlier pursuit was located in Grand Forks. There was no pursuit at this time,” said the BCI report.
Another BCI entry is odd and involves the possible second person.
|Right before getting to the Oslo exit, Trooper Peschong turned his emergency lights off because of DAVID ELLIOTT’s prior actions, and Trooper Peschong did not want to spook him and cause another pursuit. As Trooper Peschong went over the overpass he saw ELLIOTT parked on the southbound ramp nearly on the interstate. ELLIOTT was standing by the driver’s side door of the pickup. Trooper Peschong went past the exit and turned around.
-ND BCIWhen Peschong got to the Oslo exit he headed southbound on the ramp. Trooper Peschong stated he was nervous while approaching the on-ramp because ELLIOTT was suicidal and he did not know if ELLIOTT had any weapons. As Trooper Peschong approached the on-ramp, he noticed that ELLIOTT and his vehicle were no longer there.
It is not yet known if Elliott dropped someone off by the side of I-29 for Peschong to pick up.
Write Into Action presently has multiple outstanding requests for public records to the GFPD and UND Police Departments.
UND Police Chief Eric Plummer has not responded whatsoever to Write Into Action’s request for public records.
Karen Yungen was contacted but did not reply.