BISMARCK, N. D. – A research has shown that a North Dakota police officer was justified in shooting a man who attacked him outside of a motel, authorities said Wednesday.
The announcement about the case comes after the Burleigh County State Attorney Richard Riha sent a letter last week to Bismarck police chief Dan Donlin say Bismarck officer Justin Antonovich “acted appropriately under the circumstances” when he shot and injured 51-year-old Donald Miller.
Police said Miller struck Antonovich and gouged his eyes before Antonovich shot him on Oct. 15. Antonovich responds to an incident call that there is no Miller. Initially, police would not release Antonovich’s name as a matter of routine, and also because the officer called for a new law expands the rights of victims of crime.
Chief Donlin said that the police are now in charge of the attorney-general of the office that the so-called Marsy’s Law protects not the name of the officer or that of the victims, unless they are children or victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses or human trafficking.
“I had to make sure that it is not a violation of Marsy’s Law),” Donlin said, referring to the decision not to release the officer’s name immediately.
In the past, an officer’s name usually was released after the state investigation into a shooting involving an officer, Donlin said.
North Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved the law as a constitutional amendment last year, joining several other states that have adopted similar laws. The law guarantees victims and their families the right to participate in judicial proceedings, and expands their privacy rights, among other provisions.
The passage was opposed by most of the persons who are charged with enforcing, including the police, prosecutors and victims advocates. They called it a bad idea that will have unintended consequences.
Donlin said Antonovich returned to full duty on Wednesday, after being on limited duty after the shooting.
Miller was charged with assaulting a peace officer and theft. He is being held on $ 150,000 bond, and his next appearance is scheduled for Jan. 22. The office of his court-appointed lawyer, Thomas Glass, was closed this week and the lawyer does not return phone calls seeking comment.