UND officials confronted about drug trafficking and public safety issues

by Timothy Charles Holmseth on June 21, 2016, 11:13 A.M. CST

UND interim president Ed Schafer and incoming president Mark Kennedy have been confronted about public safety issues being created by the University of North Dakota Police Department.  

The public safety concerns surround drug trafficking.

The disturbing facts are set forth in a letter to UND Police Chief Eric Plummer.

Ed Schafer

* * * * *

Timothy Charles Holmseth
320 17th Street N.W.
Unit# 17
East Grand Forks, MN
218.230.1597 (cell)

In Re: Jerad Braaten investigation findings

June 21, 2016

Eric Plummer
Chief of Police / VP Public Safety
University of North Dakota

Chief Plummer,

On June 20, 2016 the Grand Forks Herald published an article featuring the discipline of UND officer Jake Schiller regarding the UND patrol car Schiller left unsecured, which allowed it to be stolen.

The Herald cites a “discipline letter” but provides no public link to the letter. If the letter is public could you please provide me a copy?  

The Herald reports your letter said, “Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard by our community members and your violation of policy negatively reflects on fellow officers and the Department”.

I am confused by your course of action and decisions.

I do not recall seeing any public announcement of any discipline taken against former UND police officer Jerad Braaten after he shot David James Elliott on February 28, 2015 in the parking lot of the Altru hospital. 

I am confused because it was reported that Braaten was being investigated.

On March 26, 2015 the Herald reported “UND police department still reviewing whether Braaten’s use of deadly force was in line with department policy.”

I am not aware of any follow up with the media regarding UND’s internal investigation of Braaten.


On February 6, 2016, the Herald reported “Grand Forks Police Department recently hired three new officers, including Jerad Braaten…” 

That seems rather odd.

The following facts regarding Braaten were obtained from the ND BCI investigative report of the officer involved shooting of David James Elliott by UND officer Jerad Braaten:

  • Braaten had been employed with UNDPD for one and a half years and it was his first job as a police officer (i.e. rookie).
  • Braaten was not scheduled to work on the night of the shooting – but then did.
  • Braaten began his ‘unscheduled’ shift at 10:30 P.M. although it was not scheduled to begin until 11:00 P.M.
  • Although not scheduled to work the days in question, Braaten, the rookie, for some reason, had a UNDPD intern with him named Heather Hopkins.  
    • If he was not even scheduled to work on February 27-28, 2015, how could it be he had an ‘intern’ with him?
  • Braaten did not insert his video card into the dash-cam on the night of the shooting so it captured nothing.
    • Is that how the rookie cop that was training the intern that he was not actually scheduled to work with? He’s teaching her to NOT follow procedures?
  • Braaten was wearing a “different uniform shirt” and “could not place the body cam where he normally placed it.” He then had intern Heather Hopkins “place a body camera on the right shoulder of his uniform shirt.”
    • Is this how the rookie cop that was training the intern that he was not actually scheduled to work with? He’s teaching her to place a body cam on the “shoulder” of his shirt? 

I also have serious questions about the true location and activities of UND officers Mark Thorpe, Jayson Waltz, Jerad Braaten, Danny Weigel, Frank Lanasa, and Heather Hopkins on the night and times in question. I have encountered significant word-play, records and documents switch-a-roos, and stalling tactics during my records requests from Sgt. Weigel.

As it appears you are making internal discipline actions public via the Grand Forks Herald, as to prevent any irresponsible actions or misconduct of your officers from “reflecting negatively” on other officers, could you please provide me with the results of your internal investigation of Jerad Ryan Braaten.

I am copying UND interim president Ed Schafer, as well as incoming UND president Mark Kennedy on this letter, because the ‘standards’ you reference also apply to you.

I have been independently investigating the David Elliott pursuit and shooting and have encountered SERIOUS questions I believe you and the University of North Dakota need to answer to the public.

Drug trafficking is a threat to public safety.

Timothy Charles Holmseth
Investigative Journalist/Author/Publisher

Cc: Ed Schafer, Mark Kennedy

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