The trial of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is now over. Ravnsborg was charged for an event that happened nearly a year ago – Sept. 12, 2020. That night Ravnsborg allegedly killed Joe Boever on Highway 14. It took state prosecutors over five months to file three misdemeanor charges. Ravnsborg was free the entire time. The charges could have resulted in 30 days jail and a $500 fine for each charge.
Approximately one year later, Ravnsborg pled no contest to two charges. A third charge was dropped. He paid $4,000 in fines and court costs. The judge initially required community service, but later changed his mind. No jail time was served.
On Jan. 14, 2021, a Ft. Thompson man killed a pedestrian on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. It took federal officials only five weeks after the crash to indict the driver. While the case was pending, there were additional restrictions on the defendant. He has now been sentenced in federal court for involuntary manslaughter – 30 months in federal prison and two years of supervised release, along with restitution.
Both Ravnsborg and the man from Ft. Thompson were reckless in their driving.
That is where the similarities end. One was tried in federal court and resolved, the other in state court with few consequences.
For many, the end result comes down to race – one man is Native and the other a prominent white person.
Three police groups, including the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, South Dakota Chief of Police Association and the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police have called for Ravnsborg’s resignation, as has South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Draw your own conclusions. Thousands across South Dakota are doing just that.