South Dakota police groups call on Ravnsborg to resign

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Three South Dakota law enforcement groups on Friday joined the call for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg to resign, saying his involvement in a September crash that left one man dead has resulted in a lack of confidence.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem this week urged Ravnsborg to step down and the state’s Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price spoke out in favor of an effort to impeach Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement officer.

On Friday, the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police, the South Dakota Chiefs’ of Police Association and the South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association released a joint statement saying Ravnsborg’s involvement in the death of Joseph Boever has “resulted in a lack of confidence in his ability to effectively carry out his duties as the chief law enforcement officer in South Dakota.”

The statement echoed Price’s comment Thursday that in law enforcement “maintaining public trust is critical.”

A spokesman for Ravnsborg, 44, said he has no intention of stepping down. Ravnsborg has been charged with three misdemeanors in the crash that killed the 55-year-old man.

Ravnsborg, a Republican, initially told authorities that he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal as he was driving home to Pierre from a Republican fundraiser late on Sept. 12. He said he searched the unlit area with a cellphone flashlight and didn’t realize he had killed a man until the next day when he returned to the accident scene on U.S. 14 near Highmore.

After an investigation that stretched over five months, prosecutors charged him with careless driving, driving out of his lane and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety released videos in which investigators said Boever’s glasses were found inside Ravnsborg’s car and that, “His face was in your windshield, Jason.”

The South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police is a union representing all levels of law enforcement and local, county and state agencies. The sheriffs’ association includes all 66 county sheriffs offices and is a network for sheriffs across the state. The police chiefs’ association consists of the majority of police chiefs and their command staffs statewide.