No charges in leak of misinformation about deputy
JAMESTOWN -- No criminal charges will be filed against two officers for any alleged involvement they had in sending anonymous information to a Fargo TV station about a Stutsman County sheriff's deputy's private use of a government-owned Jet Ski.
JAMESTOWN -- No criminal charges will be filed against two officers for any alleged involvement they had in sending anonymous information to a Fargo TV station about a Stutsman County sheriff’s deputy’s private use of a government-owned Jet Ski.
The report aired by KVLY-TV turned out to be unfounded because Stutsman County doesn’t own a Jet Ski.
Cherie Clark, assistant Cass County state’s attorney, reviewed a criminal report by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation about the incident at the request of Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen. Clark said in her report she was asked by Fremgen to determine whether criminal charges against Sgt. Elizabeth Kapp with the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and Sgt. Thomas Nagel, detective with the Jamestown Police Department, were appropriate. The BCI investigation involved potential defamation - information sent to Valley News Live’s Whistleblower program in October that “falsely alluded to Stutsman County law enforcement personnel using a government Jet Ski for personal use,” she said.
“After reviewing the (BCI) report, I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support prosecution of either Jamestown Police Detective Tom Nagel or Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Elizabeth Kapp,” Clark wrote in her report.
The KVLY television news report aired on Nov. 4. The BCI investigation showed Valley News Live received the anonymous packet of information on Oct. 28. The packet included allegations that Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office personnel used government-owned property for personal use.
Kaiser said he and Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger asked BCI to investigate the matter to see if any criminal charges could be made from the actions of the people or person who sent the anonymous packet to Valley News Live.
One of the documents sent to Valley News Live was a picture of Stutsman County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Thom riding a Jet Ski with Kaiser’s son on board. Kaiser said “from day one I was blindsided by this,” referring to Valley News Live’s televised report.
Clark’s report, which includes segments from the BCI criminal investigation, is the first mention of Kapp possibly being involved in this matter in any media reports. Clark referenced a statement from Jamestown police officer Nick Hardy that was part of the BCI investigation, that he was aware that Kapp possibly planned to run for sheriff.
Nagel could not be reached for comment.
Kapp provided a statement in an email:
“Allegations that I failed to report misuse of property through the chain of command and that I went directly to the media are completely false,” Kapp wrote. “I continue to suffer ongoing retaliation based on those false reports. Because there is an active internal investigation, I must refer you to my attorney for any specific questions.”
Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said Wednesday he wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the criminal investigation.
“We didn’t know who was involved, what was involved, in all this,” he said.
An internal investigation being run jointly by his office and the Jamestown Police Department is ongoing, Kaiser said.
Kaiser said he felt whoever was behind sending the anonymous packet that included the photo to Valley News Live has been acting in “a cowardly way.”
“We have channels to go through,” he said about reporting any improprieties.
Had this concern about private use of what was believed to be government property been done the correct way, the person or people would have learned early on the sheriff’s office doesn’t own a Jet Ski, Kaiser said.
Edinger said whatever the motive, the fact that it was done and the way it was done was “pretty disgusting.”
“It (the whole situation) puts a black eye on law enforcement and it’s really disappointing,” he said.