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South Dakota Democrats call for Ravnsborg’s resignation

The South Dakota Attorney General spoke with the press for the first time since striking and...
The South Dakota Attorney General spoke with the press for the first time since striking and killing a pedestrian near Highmore in September.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 8:21 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Hours after charges were filed against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, the South Dakota Democratic Party is calling for his resignation.

SDDP Vice Chair, Nikki Gronli, says Thursday’s press conference offered more questions than answers.

“This was not an accident. This was criminal conduct that resulted in the death of Joe Beaver – a husband – a brother and a fellow South Dakotan,” Gronli said. “Let’s face facts: Jason Ravensburg’s criminal conduct killed a man. Three Class II misdemeanors, which is the same level of seriousness of a speeding ticket, is not being held accountable.”

Jason Ravnsborg is facing misdemeanor charges of careless driving, operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device and driving out of his lane, Emily Sovell, deputy Hyde County state’s attorney, announced. Authorities said he was not talking on his phone at the time of the crash. Gronli said that the charges are “a slap on the wrist.”

“You cannot serve as the Chief Prosecutor, Chief Law Enforcement Officer, and South Dakota’s lawyer when your careless and negligent conduct caused the death of another person. Mr. Ravensburg’s [sic] Office prosecutes people across South Dakota,” Gronli said. “In our justice system, it should not matter how important you are or what position you have been elected to – you should be held accountable the same as every other person in South Dakota. Accountability for his actions means Mr. Ravnsborg must resign. Like all of us, he must accept responsibility for his actions – acceptance of responsibility, in this case, means respect for the victim and his family and resigning as our Attorney General.”

Ravnsborg issued a statement Thursday evening through his spokesperson, Mike Deaver. Deaver is representing Ravnsborg from Salt Lake City, Utah.

“This has been a difficult and trying time for everyone involved and I do want to take a moment to thank all the people that continued to reach out to me through emails, calls, letters, and most importantly, prayers,” Ravnsborg said in a statement sent to KOTA Territory News by a public relations firm. “Your support and encouragement is appreciated more than you will ever know.”

Governor Kristi Noem says she is calling for details of the investigation to be made public by next week.

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