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Mandan police officer invokes Marsy's Law in shooting incident

MANDAN, N.D.—Mandan police are not releasing the name of a man injured in an officer-involved shooting because they are unsure if he will invoke his Marsy's Law rights.

"We're not in touch with him because of the fact we're not doing the investigation, and so, until we know that for sure, we are not going to be (releasing the name) because we don't want to overstep that," Mandan Police Deputy Chief Lori Flaten said Monday, Oct. 15.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation has opened a probe into the Oct. 9 shooting, of which few details are available.

Meanwhile, the officer involved in the shooting has invoked Marsy's Law. In 2016, state voters overwhelmingly passed the initiated measure which inserted crime victim rights in the state Constitution.

Flaten has said officers of Mandan police and the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force spotted the man in Frontier Trailer Park, where they pulled him over in a traffic stop that afternoon on South Frontier Trail near Sixth Avenue Southeast. Officers were trying to arrest the 26-year-old Mandan man on warrants.

Shortly after, the Mandan police officer shot the man. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. Flaten said she doesn't know his condition, though he is hospitalized in North Dakota.

The officer is on administrative leave, per department policy, during the course of BCI's investigation. Flaten declined to offer details of the officer, due to information that could be "identifying."

She also said police would seek legal counsel, if needed, from the Mandan city attorney on deciding to eventually release the officer's name, given the invocation of Marsy's Law amid the shooting investigation.

A year ago, a Bismarck police officer invoked Marsy's Law after shooting his attacker during a violent struggle over his squad car. Police eventually released his name after consultation with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Stenehjem has issued guidance that nothing shields the names of crime victims who invoke Marsy's Law, though other state law protects names of victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses and human trafficking, as well as most child victims.

"Unless the victim falls into one of those categories, the victim's name cannot be withheld," the guidance states.

Flaten also said she didn't have information relating to specific details of the shooting, such as whether the injured man was armed, or if he will be charged in connection to the incident.

"Believe it or not, we don't have that information. Like I said, when (BCI is) actively doing (its investigation), they don't come and tell us what they know, not until they're done," Flaten said.

"You'll have to talk to the city of Mandan," said Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, when asked for details of the shooting.

Brocker also cited AG rules that, when BCI assists an agency in a use of force investigation, the requesting agency has jurisdiction, which includes media inquiries.

"I can't tell you what I don't know," Flaten said.