North Dakota Attorney General redacts witness interview in police shooting - cites existing investigation - “Criminal intelligence information and criminal investigative information”
UNDPD officer lied during investigation of police shooting
by Timothy Charles Holmseth on October 4, 2016, 10:50 P.M. CST
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has finally turned over a partial audio recording of their interview with a police intern who was present and witnessed a police shooting in Grand Forks.
The audio was provided to Write Into Action.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office made redactions attributed to NDCC 44-04-18.7 – a statute that invokes confidentiality based upon “criminal intelligence” associated with “active criminal investigative information”. Criminal intelligence information and criminal investigative information - Nondisclosure - Record of information maintained. 1. Active criminal intelligence information and active criminal investigative information are not subject to section 44-04-18 and section 6 of article XI of the Constitution of North Dakota.
Write Into Action’s independent investigation has now discovered UNDPD officer Heather Hopkins lied to BCI investigators about the most critical fact surrounding the shooting of David James Elliott.
Immediately after the shootingin the early morning hours of February 28, 2015, Hopkins and Braaten were captured on audio from a body cam that is still recording, which Write Into Action obtained.
This exchange takes place:
Heather Hopkins: “Are all the officers gone?”
Jerad Braaten: “Yep, did you see him when he was trying to run him over?”
Heather Hopkins: “Yep”
Jerad Braaten: “I’m going to need you to file a witness”
Heather Hopkins: “Okay”
But - that’s not what Hopkins told the BCI a short time later.
Interviewing Officer: “So when the vehicle accelerates could you see the officer get spun out of the vehicle? Did he almost get run over?”
Heather Hopkins: “I couldn’t tell”
The BCI possessed Braaten’s body-cam, which was found hidden under Braaten’s squad car, so the BCI and States Attorney David Jones knew exactly what was said.
The Special Agent asked Hopkins if she talked to Braaten after the shooting.
BCI Agent: “At any point does Officer Braaten come back into the UNDPD vehicle? To talk you or anything?”
Heather Hopkins: “Yes, after the ambulance came and they took thedriver on a gourney inside he came back into the car – and sat down inside the car.”
BCI Agent: “Did he say anything?”
Heather Hopkins: “He did say something to me. I honestly can't remember what he said. I want to say he just asked me if I was okay. But, I don't remember what he asked me. I know I asked if he was okay he said 'yep'."
Perhaps the BCI or States Attorney Jones should have reminded Hopkins that she claimed to have seen Elliott almost run over a police officer and that she ambitiously agreed to sign a sworn statement swearing to it.
The David Jones Elliott shooting was an attempted murder by a hit man working for the University of North Dakota Police Department in conjunction with officers from other agencies including the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office and Grand Forks Police Department.
For more on this view the following videos.