Videogate: North Dakota police admit they cannot explain how/why video of police shooting an unarmed man changed from ‘color’ to ’black and white’
by Timothy Charles Holmseth on May 16, 2016, 7:58 P.M. CST
Updated/Revised on May 18, 2016 8:12 A.M. CST
Was the shooting of an unarmed Grand Forks man by a University of North Dakota police officer an attempted cold blooded murder?
Police cam video evidence in the shooting of David James Elliott on February 28, 2015, contains all the signs of evidence of tampering as police misconduct appears to be out of control.
Much of the controversy surrounds three officers – UND Police Officer Jerad Braaten (now employed by GFPD), GFPD Officer Dan Harvala, and GFPD Officer Matthew Bullinger.
On May 14, 2016 Write Into Action published ‘Did somebody alter police cam video from shooting of unarmed man in Grand Forks, North Dakota?’
The investigative article focuses on a dash-cam video of the David Elliott shooting that somehow changed from ‘color’ to ‘black and white’ video – to the exception of all other videos turned over to the media.
Today, the GFPD responded to Write Into Action’s request for the ‘color’ version of the police dash-cam video from Harvala’s police car that captures the shooting.
“I did just watch the videos and (Timothy Charles Holmseth) is correct, but I don’t know why his second video would be in black and white vs. color, but that’s how the original is,” the police department’s Evidence Coordinator said to Lt. Derik Zimmel, GFPD.
“I can certainly understand your question, but that is the evidence in our possession,” Zimmel said.
The David Elliott pursuit and shooting is peppered with video anomalies and obvious misconduct by officers.
THE SHOOTER – UND POLICE OFFICER JERAD BRAATEN
Jerad Braaten, the UND police officer that shot David Elliott was not even scheduled to work on the night of the shooting.
But he did.
And – everything Braaten did on the night in question and during the subsequent investigation was misconduct.
Braaten did not activate his dash-cam on the night of the David Elliott shooting so it captured nothing. For some reason Braaten was not wearing his regular uniform (something happened fast and he didn’t have time to put his uniform on?).
Braaten did not properly fix his body-cam to his shirt, so nothing useful regarding the shooting was captured by that camera either.
In one body-cam video that does not identify the officer (it may be Braaten), it appears the officer places the camera under his jacket shortly before the shooting.
But – the reality of what was really going on that night is far more cynical than sloppy police work.
THE DRUG DEALER AT GRANDVIEW APARTMENTS
Braaten told investigators with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) that although he was not supposed to start work until 11 P.M. on February 27 – he began working at approximately 10:30 P.M.
Braaten told investigators that he and UND Sgt. Danny Weigel were dispatched to a ‘suspicious person’ complaint at sorority house. Dispatch records obtained by Write Into Action show the ‘suspicious person’ call was at 10:50 P.M.
But there is something that occurred before the 10:50 P.M. call.
It occurred at 10:30 P.M.
Dispatch records show Braaten stopped a vehicle on South 34th Street at 11:30 P.M.
And there is something very strange going on.
GFPD officers Dan Harvala and Matthew Bullinger are at the Grandview Apartments at 1850 South 34th Street (the same street that Braaten was on).
These three cops are all in the same area.
Harvala and Bullinger are supposedly tending to a ‘loud party complaint’ at apartment 217 that was reported at 10:16 P.M.
The resident of Apartment 217 was Douglass Devonn Palmer.
According to police records obtained by Write Into Action, Palmer is a drug-dealer that had been in prior communications with GFPD detectives regarding his selling of drugs (but was not charged with the crime).
Note: This puts Douglass Devonn Palmer in the category of slain college student Andrew Sadek – the young man that was murdered after police busted him for marijuana sales and coerced him into acting as a drug informant.
Two months later – Harvala would again find himself responding to a 911 call at Palmer’s apartment on South 34th Street. This time it involved gunfire.
Within hours, and without interviewing everyone involved, Harvala charged a Somalian man, Mohammed Awesis Mohamed, with attempted murder, and got him sentenced to prison – all based upon what has been shown to be false statements reported to the police by Palmer.
LEAVING THE DRUG DEALER AT GRANDVIEW APARTMENTS AND SHOOTING DAVID ELLIOTT
On February 27, 2015, GFPD officers Harvala and Bullinger left the area of South 34th Street and the residence of a known drug dealer; they then began pursuing David James Elliott.
When Harvala began pursuing Elliott; Elliott called 911 and stayed on the phone with 911 for 107 minutes. Much of the call was between Elliott and Bullinger.
At 12:47 A.M. on February 28, Braaten shot David Elliott six times in the Emergency Room parking lot – three times in the head. Then – as Elliott lay shot in his vehicle, the officers began tazing him.
The BCI found “thousands” of pills in Elliott’s vehicle. Nobody ha ever been charged with any crime regarding those drugs.
Braaten was then given a job at the GFPD by Police Chief Mark Nelson.
Write Into Action will continues investigate.
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