Police shooting of unarmed man connected to transnational drug trafficking in North Dakota?
by Timothy Charles Holmseth on April 11, 2016, 12:27 P.M. CST
Were law enforcement officers really where they said they were; and doing what they said they did; on the night an unarmed man was shot by a cop in a Grand Forks, North Dakota hospital parking lot?
Will the truth about what happened that night reveal players in a transnational drug trafficking operation that has saturated the region with illegal drugs and nurtured its lucrative economy in North Dakota?
The efforts of ND Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Grand Forks County States Attorney David Jones have both failed to bring any charges, or, any meaningful media attention, to the thousands of pills confiscated from the vehicle of David James Elliott after he was chased down and shot in the Altru parking lot.
The actual root source supplying narcotics to the trafficking apparatus seems to be of little interest to Stenehjem and Jones despite overdose deaths occurring at a very alarming, and, suspicious rate.
On April 10, 2016, the Grand Forks Herald published an article entitled ‘Keeps them alive’ Administering naloxone could save lives of those who overdose’.
|“Across North Dakota, the heroin and opioid epidemic has seeped quickly and silently into our communities—claiming the lives of more than a dozen people in just the Grand Forks region since 2014,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who visited Mercy Hospital in Devils Lake March 31 to talk about the issue.
In addition to Grand Forks’ fentanyl deaths, Fargo saw three overdose deaths in one week in March, possibly related to heroin laced with fentanyl.
– Grand Forks Herald
The Herald article effectively side-steps the root source and supply of the drugs coming into the area, and simply focuses on how to stop somebody from dying after they have already overdosed.
That way – the drug dealers still get to make their money.
Write Into Action is filling the public’s need for information pertaining to the serious public health and safety issues facing North Dakota, through an independent journalistic investigation.
But there is a curious reluctance by government record keepers to allow the process to flow.
Basic public records requests are yet to be filled by the Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD); records that will help to answer very important questions regarding statements made to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) by officers from the GFPD, Grand Forks Sheriff’s Office, University of North Dakota Police, and North Dakota Highway Patrol.
The officers were all questioned following the pursuit and shooting of David Elliott on February 27-28, 2015.
The reason the pursuit and shooting of Elliott is significant is because thousands of pills were found in his vehicle the night he was chased around for hours by police while he was on 911 asking for help.
The limited amount of video available from the chase has been redacted so nothing David Elliott was saying to police about his situation can be heard.
No criminal charges were ever brought against anyone regarding the drugs in Elliott’s vehicle.
Elliott was shot by UND police officer Jerad Braaten, a cop not scheduled to work that night; not wearing his regular uniform; not activating his dash-cam; and not recording the event with his body-cam.
Write Into Action is seeking all the 911 records of the night in question.
On March 31, 2016, Write Into Action requested police logs concentrating on an entry in the BCI report regarding GFPD officers Dan Harvala and Matt Bullinger.
Grand Forks Police Department Officer Dan Harvala and Grand Forks Police Department Officer Matt Bullinger responded to a loud 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 loud 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.
– SA Michael J. Ness / Interview with GFPD Dan Harvala
“The request is for any Police Report, PSAP transcript, telephone call, officer log, officer notes, and/or ledgers pertaining to the aforementioned,” Write Into Action’s request said.
“Simply put – I am requesting the public records that record the two police officers receiving information about a “loud party complaint” as well as them receiving information about a pending PSAP for a “suspicious vehicle” at “Wells Fargo Bank” on February 27, 2015,” Write Into Action said.
The Harvala interviewed is already hopelessly flawed.
Harvala’s statement that the call from the cleaning lady at Wells Fargo Bank came in at “around 11:30 p.m., to 11:40 p.m.” completely contradicts statements by Lt. Derik Zimmel, GFPD, and Becky Ault, PSAP director, who state the call from Wells Fargo was at 10:41 P.M.
GFPD officer Matt Bullinger told the BCI his shift began at 10:00 P.M. on the night in question. He said “at the beginning of the shift” he and Harvala “responded to a loud party complaint on the west side of South 34th Street, Grand Forks, North Dakota, at the beginning of the shift.”
“After clearing from the call, Grand Forks Police Department Officer Matt Bullinger was in his vehicle doing paperwork when Grand Forks Police Department Officer Dan Harvala responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint at the Wells Fargo Bank, Grand Forks, North Dakota,” the BCI report said.
Write Into Action is requesting all records regarding the “loud party complaint” on the west side of 34the Street the officers say they handled.
Here’s one reason.
Write Into Action obtained records from UND police that show UND police officer Jerad Braaten, the officer that shot David Elliott that night, was handling a ‘Traffic Stop” at South 34th Street at 10:30 P.M.
That’s the same time-window Bullinger places himself and Harvala at South 34th Street, as well.
But it gets even more suspicious.
GFPD officer Chris Brown told the BCI he was in the Altru emergency room and witnesses the police pursuit of Elliott heading north on South Columbia Road at around 10:30/10:35 P.M. on the night in question.
But – even the earliest version for the time of the 911 call from Wells Fargo Bank that resulted in the police chase of Elliott is 10:41 P.M.
Harvala’s dash-cam shows he started following Elliott at 10:57 P.M. and then attempted to stop him – whereupon he fled.
So what police pursuit did Brown see at 10:30 P.M.?
The next questions is; what exactly was going on at the UND police department at the time Harvala began pursuing Elliott?
According to dispatch logs, here’s what the UND cops were doing.
UND officers Mark Thorpe, Jayson Waltz, Jerad Braaten, Danny Weigel, and Frank Lanasa ALL responded to a “Suspicious Person” call of “Male Subject Knocking on Door” at a residence on University Avenue.
The telephone number the ‘suspicious person’ call came from was 701.740.4411 which is traced back to Molstad Contracting, 115 Reeves Ct., Grand Forks.
Write Into Action continues to investigate.
READ ALSO –
Altru shooting 911 records: ‘Second person’ and ‘thousands of pills’ cast doubt upon official narrative of Altru police shooting – – – Did call to police by Wells Fargo cleaning lady interrupt drug activity involving law enforcement?