RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Voters agreed to add Marsy's Law to the South Dakota State Constitution to protect crime victims from revealing personal information to the public without their consent. The Pennington County deputy involved in the fatal shooting in New Underwood following a police chase in late November is asking to use the law to keep their name from being released.
A wild car chase in New Underwood turned deadly when the suspect was killed by a deputy after the suspect came out of the car with a rifle. Now the deputy is using Marsy's Law to avoid having his name being revealed.
Pennington County State Attorney Mark Vargo explains by stepping out of the car with a weapon in front of people is a sign of a potential threat.
Therefore the deputy has the right to call themself a victim. Vargo says law enforcement officers are not exempt from Marsy's Law. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says citizen protection stems out to people whether they wear a uniform or not. Marsy's Law says a person who claims to be a victim needs to notify law enforcement or the states attorney if they don't want their information released.
"South Dakota's voters decided to put this into our constitution. And so everybody is covered as a victim who has been victimized by a criminal offense. And it is not appropriate for us to say the deputy cannot exercise the same right's of every other citizen of South Dakota," says Pennington County State Attorney Mark Vargo.
Marsy's Law was voted in back in 2016. It was revised in June of 2018 by 80 percent of the people's vote for being too broad in classifying who is a victim. This made South Dakota the first state to revise Marsy's Law.
The incident is still being investigated. The deputy asking for Marsy's Law is currently on administrative leave. Jackley says he hasn't made a decision yet on whether the deputy's name will be released in the final report on the shooting.