AP NEWS

South Dakota dismisses complaints of officer misconduct

November 15, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota officials dismissed complaints Friday against four officers accused of misconduct stemming from sexual harassment allegations.

The Division of Criminal Investigation said it didn’t find enough evidence to move forward with the complaints against three officers. The fourth officer, Brown County Deputy Ross Erickson, has resigned. The state paid $1.2 million to a former investigator who complained that he sexually harassed her.

Two of the officers, Brown County Sheriff Mark Milbrandt and his Chief Deputy David Lunzman, were accused of retaliating against the investigator after she complained. In 2017, a jury sided with Laura Zylstra Kaiser, the former DCI investigator, who said that former Director Bryan Gortmaker and former agent Mark Black pressured her to resign.

The complaints, which were filed by Sioux Falls Republican state Sen. Stace Nelson, alleged that Milbrandt and Lunzman took part in pressuring Zylstra Kaiser out of the department.

Lunzman told The Associated Press he was satisfied with the outcome of the investigation.

“I was confident that the truth would come out and there was nothing that I did wrong,” he said.

Lunzman said Milbrandt was not available Friday and unreachable by phone.

Zylstra Kaiser appeared in an ad for Gov. Kristi Noem last year during her Republican primary campaign against former Attorney General Marty Jackley. The ad accused Jackley of mishandling Zylstra Kaiser’s complaints. Zylstra Kaiser’s husband, Dan Kaiser, ran against Milbrandt for Brown County sheriff last year.

The other officer cleared by the investigation was Madison police Officer Matthew Wollman, a former state legislator who resigned in 2017 after admitting he had sex with legislative interns. He began working as a Madison police officer last year.

Madison police Chief Jason Meyer declined to comment Friday.