South Dakota Attorney General’s Office Has Policies to Prevent Situations Like Ferguson, Mo.
He’s hesitant to second-guess prosecutors and law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri and their handling of the Michael Brown officer involved shooting.
However, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says his office has some safeguards for those kinds of volatile situations.
Jackley says his office has a policy of transparency when a police officer is involved in a shooting. Unlike what happened in the aftermath of the fatal shooting in Missouri, he says that within 30 days of the incident, his office will provide as much information as possible in conjunction with other investigating agencies.
Doing so is in everyone’s best interest, according to Jackley.
“So you have more than one agency involved and I think that gains further trust with the media and public,” Jackley said.
A related safeguard is that his office doesn’t work alone but with the Division of Criminal Investigation and the local law enforcement agency. And if there is a conflict, he brings in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation from North Dakota to take over the matter.
In fact, he says his office is doing just that for North Dakota authorities. Perception is important, according to Jackley.
While South Dakota does not have a large percentage of African-American like Ferguson, it does have a significant Native American minority population. In such situations, Jackley says it is important to proceed fairly.
“For the most part, we’ve had several shootings where either we’ve had a Native American officer that has been involved in the shooting or the suspect being Native American,” Jackley said. “We try to be careful about those relationships but at the end of the day, we have to judge it and base it upon the facts.”
Since 2001, Jackley says the AG’s office has handled and closed 29 officer-involved shootings. The only outstanding investigation concerns a Mitchell police officer fatally shooting a woman in a motel standoff earlier this month.