Law enforcement reacts to Ravnsborg’s impeachment | SiouxlandProud | Sioux City, Iowa


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — On Tuesday, the South Dakota Senate voted to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, affirming the articles of impeachment passed by the House and also barring him from holding other office.

This involuntary removal, a first in the history of South Dakota, comes more than a year after three South Dakota law enforcement organizations – the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sheriff’s Association and the Association of Chiefs of Police – have called on Ravnsborg to resign from office.

KELOLAND News spoke with Sheriff’s Association President Tim Walburg and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) State Lodge President Mike Walsh about the impeachment and the events surrounding it. leads.

Walburg says the criminal justice process was followed in South Dakota following the crash in which Ravnsborg killed Joe Boever. He says the call for the resignation is due to the standards of the attorney general’s office.

“The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the state. We’re all held to these high standards to make sure we’re doing the right thing,” Walburg said. He did not say explicitly that Ravnsborg was unable to meet those standards, but again clarified that he believed due process had been followed in this case.

When asked if the accident and the subsequent investigation impacted Ravnsborg’s ability to interact with law enforcement in the role of attorney general, Walburg chose his words carefully.

“I think as the investigation unfolds and information related to the investigation comes out, it could impact the decisions he makes as attorney general,” Walburg said. .

Walsh, a former sheriff’s deputy, spoke more candidly on this topic.

“The Attorney General’s Office is the organization local law enforcement turns to for advice on many state laws — when you’ve lost trust in that office, and to be more specific, lost trust in the attorney general himself, it’s hard to look for that guidance,” Walsh said.

This loss of confidence was key to the FOP’s decision to call for Ravnsborg’s resignation.

“We know that law enforcement across the state was losing faith in the attorney general’s office,” Walsh said, “and quite honestly, the public across the state was losing faith in law enforcement. due to the perception that he was not charged because he was an attorney general.

When asked if he thought justice had been properly served in this case, Walsh offered his personal opinion as a former cop, not as the head of the FOP.

“Without seeing all the evidence – I’m not so sure bigger chargers couldn’t have been prosecuted,” Walsh said. “The last people I’m going to guess are the investigators – but for me, I would have tried heavier charges.”

Elaborating on that sentiment, Walsh mentioned obstruction and dishonesty on Ravnsborg’s part while saying he might have done things differently had he been in charge of the investigation.

Despite this, Walsh pushed back against the idea that Ravnsborg got away easily due to his position, although he acknowledged that this factor could still have an impact. “That might be part of it,” he said, but instead explained a different reason why Ravnsborg’s position might have complicated the investigation.

“One of the attorney general’s roles is to interpret laws and advise on how to apply those laws,” Walsh said. Ravnsborg being unable to provide this interpretation, for obvious reasons, may have increased the uncertainty of officials making decisions.

Walsh argued that those responsible for the investigation may have been crippled from the start because the person they relied on to interpret things, like the definition of “reckless,” was the person they were investigating. .

Despite lingering questions about what could have been done, Walsh says he thinks impeachment, at least as far as due process is concerned, is an acceptable outcome as far as the FOP is concerned.

“I understand it was frustrating. I’m not in a position to say whether he could have been charged with anything more or not. That’s not for me to say,” Walsh said. being said – if the former attorney general was going to refuse to take responsibility, of course, the South Dakota FOP is happy with [impeachment].”

Overall, Walsh believes public confidence in law enforcement will return to pre-Ravnsborg levels. The biggest challenge may be regaining trust in the Attorney General’s office by law enforcement. For whoever the next attorney general is, Walsh says transparency will have to be a priority to restore that trust.


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