Thanks to his primary loss in June, Rapid City lawyer and rent-a-cop boss Kenneth E. Orrock will be Bennett County’s state’s attorney for only a few more months. If Oglala Sioux Tribe Council LaCreek Representative Craig Dillon has his way, Orrock will be out of his Bennett County job sooner than that.
In a complaint sent yesterday to Governor Dennis Daugaard, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and the South Dakota State Bar Disciplinary Committee, Dillon asks that Orrock “be removed from office for misconduct and incompetence, criminally investigated,” and examined by the bar for fitness to practice law in South Dakota. Dillon accuses Orrock of “overzealous to clearly unstable” conduct over the last four years culminating in Orrock’s apparent usurpation of police power in Martin during what has been reported as riots in the Bennett County seat. Representative Dillon says there was no “riot”, just bad policing and bad behavior by Orrock:
During the first week of July, Mr. Orrock took command of the Martin City police force. Acting as their chief and, also failing to inform Chief Tom Jeans, Mr. Orrock caused all three city police officers to leave Martin’s city limits. He cause them to travel onto tribal land and conduct a warrantless search without the permission of the resident or necessary action by the tribe.
Mr. Orrock personally accompanied those officers to that location and was present during that warrantless search, apparently acting on inaccurate information regarding the location of handguns recently stolen from the Martin True Value hardware store….
When the extent of Mr. Orrock’s misconduct became clear, The City Council met with us. The officers in question apologized. The city council apologized. The Sherriff, who had no hand in the illegal raid, was also very helpful in mending fences. Mr. Orrock, however, calling in from Rapid City, was loud, rude, and confrontational. He refused to listen, justified his conduct, and was so off the mark that a city council member finally hung up on him.
Mr. Orrock’s eagerness to find the missing guns seems to have been the product of his completely irresponsible declaration of a “state of emergency” (Operation “Full Moon”) the preceding week in following a family feud the PD failed to address immediately and appropriately. Three days of poor policing later, they were unable to regain control. There were no “gangs” and there was no “riot,” just inadequate policing as is clear from the warrantless raid a week later.
Orrock’s irresponsible declaration of a state of emergency (before returning to Rapid City, where he lives) made the front page of the Rapid City Journal and the national news. The full cost of Mr. Orrock’s overreaction has not yet been calculated but we are aware that tourist and combinging dollars have been lost from those who took Mr. Orrock’s “gang violence” and “riot” language at face value and stayed away [links added; Oglala Sioux Tribe Council Representative Craig Dillon, letter to Governor Dennis Daugaard, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and SD State Bar Disciplinary Committee, 2016.07.27].
Dillon mentions Orrock’s Rapid City residence to support his contention that Orrock cannot legally hold the office of Bennett County state’s attorney. As reported here in April, state law requires that a state’s attorney live either in the county he serves or, in low-population counties, in an adjacent county. Orrock’s home county of Pennington is not adjacent to Bennett.
Dillon also accuses Orrock of physically confronting and detaining state’s attorney candidate Britt Long without cause and causing the FBI to investigate a former county sheriff “on baseless allegations of child abuse.”