Attorney General Doug Peterson rejects the suggestion from 17 state senators that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Nebraska State Patrol.
Peterson has written the senators, responding to their letter requesting that he ask the courts to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the patrol for any violations of state law.
The request comes in light of Gov. Pete Ricketts ordering an investigation of the patrol by Chief Human Resources Officer Jason Jackson June 23rd after allegations surfaced that Col. Brad Rice exerted inappropriate influence over four internal affairs investigations.
Ricketts fired Rice June 30th after receiving the preliminary report from Jackson.
Five others have been suspended over allegations of dishonesty and dereliction of duty in two investigations into whether troopers used excessive force.
Jackson delivered his full report to the governor at the beginning of this month.
The investigation states how the NSP chain of commanded handled two allegations troopers used excessive force raises suspicions of dishonesty and dereliction of duty. In one case, a trooper used a tactical maneuver during a pursuit, resulting in a wreck in which the suspect died. The second case involved allegations a trooper hit a drunk suspect in the head with a rifle butt.
Jackson also states NSP failed to forward 12 cases of misconduct onto the Crime Commission as required by law. His investigation also faults the patrol’s sexual harassment and workplace harassment policies and accuses the patrol of failing to address charges of misconduct.
In his letter to the state senators, Peterson says he doesn’t have the legal authority to appoint a special prosecutor and neither does the court. Peterson points out the governor’s office has informed the FBI of its findings. He adds any possible criminal case can be brought by a county attorney.