FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): UPDATE
We’re learning new details late Friday in the internal investigation of Fargo Police Officer David Boelke, and the claims that he lied during the investigation and is being wrongfully terminated. Documents released Friday by Officer Boelke’s Attorney blast Police Chief David Todd, the internal investigators and Chief Todd’s subordinate who allegedly initiated the complaint and subsequent investigation.
Officer Boelke’s Attorney Mark Friese tells us in the information released Friday his client stands accused of lying during an internal affairs investigation, not filing paperwork and not responding to calls for service while on patrol.
Those documents say Boelke failed to show up for a court date where a speeding ticket was being contested. That triggered the internal investigation where a review of Boelke’s work was conducted. Based on that review, department higher ups said Boelke lacked empathy and had an unwillingness to investigate further on calls. One Deputy Chief even said he should be fired.
Boelke’s attorney calls these “trumped up allegations” against the 15-year veteran who served at the DAPL protests, as well as President of the Fraternal Order of Police and who had received a lifesaving award.
The attorney points out that part of the evidence against Boelke is GPS data, and the program generating that data has been shown to say the car was stationary when in fact it was moving. Friese also asks Chief Todd to reject the findings of this investigation, in part because of this faulty computer software used in the patrol cars.
Officer Boelke said during questioning as part of the investigation that he returned to do some follow up investigation on a call, the GPS data did not show it and he was then accused of lying.
Late Thursday, the head of the state Fraternal Order of Police came out in support of Boelke. Grant Benjamin echoed that again, saying he’s confident Officer Boelke will be cleared of these accusations, again in part because of the faulty GPS data being used as evidence.
Stay with Valley News Live as we just received the fully redacted internal investigation files and will update you as we learn more.
Based upon documents made public by Mark Friese, the attorney for a Fargo Police Officer embroiled in an internal affairs investigation, it seems some sort of personal disagreement inside the department is what led to a complaint being filed.
While we’re still waiting for the complete, yet redacted, documents involved with the internal affairs investigation regarding a complaint against Officer David Boelke, Friese writes in a letter to Chief Dave Todd that “they have trumped up allegations, disparaging a 15-year veteran officer who has substantial personal and community support.” Again, based off what Friese writes, the complaint, made by a “subordinate commander”, seems to stem from an incident where Officer Boelke missed court. The allegations also continue that Officer Boelke would not respond to calls for service, and that Boelke lied during the internal investigation.
Friese, in his letter, blasts the department’s investigation and investigators, saying they “ashamedly conscripted others to advance the false narrative”. Friese asks Chief Todd to “reject the slanderous and false claim(s)”. Friese calls the investigation “shameful, it breeds distrust… lacks objectivity, and is flatly wrong.”
In the conclusion of his letter to Chief Todd, Friese writes:
“Recall that this is an inquiry that was initiated without a citizen complaint, and after Dave (Boelke) self-reported missing court. One of your subordinate commanders ordered the initiation of an investigation of Dave’s (Boelke) work performance for the past year, even though throughout the year at issue Dave’s current and former supervisors expressed no work performance concerns. Then, that same subordinate recommends Dave’s termination based on claims Dave lied in the investigation, even though a polygraph examination, confirmed by a renowned polygraph expert, proves otherwise.
You became Chief in the middle of tumult, largely created by toxic leadership and disparate use of disciplinary procedures. The legacy of your predecessor should not be your own. Your officers who serve selflessly and the citizens of Fargo deserve better.”
Valley News Live reached out to Grant Benjamin, North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police State President, following a statement issued late Thursday in support of Officer Boelke. Benjamin says the information the internal investigation is relying on, specifically GPS location data from the squad car, is not valid. Benjamin says the system in use, New World, does not track squad cars accurately, and has been shown to provide data that a car is motionless when actually on the move.
Grant Benjamin goes on to say that he is confident that Officer Boelke will be cleared of any wrongdoing because he believes the information being presented as evidence is “tainted, has issues and it’s well documented that it has issues.”
Once the City of Fargo provides us with the rest of the documents we will update the story.