But besides breaking the law, killing a man, and lying about it, Ravnsborg has abused his office. Among the 200 redacted documents released Wednesday from the investigation file on Ravnsborg’s killing of Joe Boever, KELO-TV finds this report from the South Dakota Highway Patrol indicating that Ravnsborg has used his office to get out of traffic tickets.
According to the report, printed March 10, 2021 (scroll down to page 6, “Supporting Narrative by Shane Snyder, 10/03/20 14:14”; particulars on traffic violations begins on page 10), Ravnsborg was stopped by South Dakota Highway Patrol officers nine times between March 2015 and July 2020, including two instances where he was doing over 80 in a 65 zone. SDHP stopped Attorney General Ravnsborg three times—twice for speeding, once for improper lane change—after he took office and before he killed Boever. The report also lists four times that local police stopped Ravnsborg during his 2018 campaign and six additional traffic stops in 2019 and 2020, including a stop sign violation in Huron on September 6, 2020, six days before Ravnsborg killed Boever.
Recall that in the midst of this traffic violation spree, on January 27, 2020, Ravnsborg told the Aberdeen City Council, “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s driving.” That long record of traffic stops suggests there is no thing Ravnsborg is good at.
The SDHP report notes that Ravnsborg frequently cited his official title not just for identification but as part of apparent excuses for his violations:
4/27/19 – Speeding (40 in 30 ??)– SDHP Trooper Jordan Staab – Verbal
- Immediately identified himself as AG
6/1/19 – Speeding (41 in 30) Traffic Stop – Cuming County [Nebraska] SO Deputy Vance – Warning
- Told officer he was the AG en route to NG training in Freemont driving State vehicle / video obtained
…2/26/20 – Speeding (50 in 35) – Gettysburg PD – Verbal warning
- Told officer he was the AG and was in a hurry to go meeting in Clark, felt speed was necessary due to meeting / video only available with a letter of intent
6/20/20 – Speeding (65 in 55) – ISP Warning
- Produced badge and identified position / video of stop obtained [SD Highway Patrol Officer Shane Snyder, “Supporting Narrative,” 2020.10.03, narrative, in SDHP Case Report HP20004565CR, printed 2021.03.10, pp. 11–12].
Recall that on the night Ravnsborg killed Joe Boever, when Ravnsborg called 911 from the scene of the crime on the shoulder of Highway 14 west of Highmore, the first thing he said to the dispatcher (after “Hello”, “Can you hear me?” and “Hello”) was “Ally, This… well… Ally, I’m the Attorney General.” As I noted when that 911 call was released, Ravsnborg did not open that urgent call with his name. He opened with his official title, signaling that his first impulse in a tough situation is to invoke his title to insulate himself from consequences. SDHP’s report on Ravnsborg’s quick use of his title in multiple previous interactions with law enforcement supports the conclusion that he uses his office to get out of trouble.
Related Record-Keeping: The Ravnsborg file also includes information on SDHP’s interactions with Joe Boever. The file shows one record prior to the fatal meeting with Ravnsborg, a May 23, 2017, citation for driving 6 to 10 mph over the limit on a state highway.