Kiara Kraus-Parr questions “Absentee Attorney General”

Kiara Kraus-Parr questions “Absentee Attorney General”

Attorney General candidate says Fargo-Moorhead high-speed chase involving BCI shows a lack of leadership, engagement by career politician Wayne Stenehjem

(FARGO, ND – June 24, 2014) – North Dakota Attorney General candidate Kiara Kraus-Parr said today that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s response to last week’s dangerous high-speed chase in Fargo-Moorhead is unacceptable, but is the inevitable result of a career politician failing to provide leadership as the state’s top law enforcement officer.

The chase tore through a Moorhead, MN golf course and ended inside Fargo’s West Acres mall.

Even as the national spotlight shines on North Dakota, and as critical questions are being asked about the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) practices, Stenehjem has absented himself from the state. Kraus-Parr notes that in like fashion, the BCI Director has also refused to directly discuss the incident by directing all questions to a spokesperson.

Kraus-Parr released the following statement:

“The potentially deadly episode in Fargo was a direct consequence of Stenehjem’s failure of leadership. Miscommunication between the BCI and other law enforcement agencies made a bad situation worse. Moreover, the BCI claims its agents did not violate any agency policies, even though the Fargo Police and others have suggested that the agents’ actions, which included racing through West Acres Mall in plainclothes with guns drawn, created life-threatening danger to bystanders. North Dakota needs law enforcement policies that promote inter-agency cooperation and public safety.

“The BCI debacle in Fargo was not an isolated incident. A few weeks ago in Forbes, North Dakota, a BCI officer demanded that a citizen give up her phone, misled her so as to make her believe she was in legal jeopardy if she refused, and then when she complied, allegedly deleted photographs lawfully taken with it. Thereafter, the BCI erred when selling property that had been taken during the episode to an out-of-state company when it should have remained with the Dickey County Sherriff’s Department. Not surprisingly, Mr. Stenehjem’s office refused to discuss the affair. The Attorney General has not taken responsibility for the lack of communication, training, or supervision that has recently become an issue with the BCI. Instead he has again shifted his obligations onto a spokesperson.

“After nearly 40 years in state government, including 14 as Attorney General, Wayne Stenehjem’s primary objectives are pleasing his party, scoring easy political wins, and enjoying the perks of living off the taxpayers’ dollar. In the meantime, sex trafficking, drug dealing, and other crimes are skyrocketing across the state. As the potentially deadly episode in Fargo illustrates, Stenehjem is frequently absent or missing when crises hit.”

“North Dakota is a wonderful place to live. But we need energetic, engaged, and independent leadership to address growing threats to our safety. We cannot afford an absentee Attorney General.”


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