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Kooiker: Racism Motivated Rapid City Rejection of Mayor’s Police Chief Pick

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker wanted to promote Lt. Elias Diaz to police chief. That choice didn't go over well with Rapid City pundits like John Tsitrian and Stan Adelstein. The City Council vetoed Diaz, forcing Kooiker to turn to his second-choice (and many Rapid Citians' first choice), Assistant Chief Karl Jegeris.

In a response to Tsitrain, Mayor Kooiker expresses his confidence in Chief Jegeris in his new duties and Lt. Diaz in his continuing duties. But the missile launch of the weekend, Mayor Kooiker says the City Council's opposition to Diaz was motivated by racism:

Two council members, Charity Doyle and Bill Clayton, may have been driven by their well-known biases. It would be easy to say “Well that doesn’t account for the other 6 no votes”. Even so, the ferocity of Charity and Bill’s opposition had an impact. Charity's biases against minorities are well documented in her book, called Political Prostitution. Don't accept my word for it – you can read it on One of her multiple slams on Hispanic people is only a few pages after her bizarre defense of hanging nooses in public. She had also accused me of having a conflict of interest in the Disability Consideration policy in October 2011 (because I have a disability), and she even threw her ink pen across the room on camera when I voted for the policy. She also fiercely opposed a stronger Human Relations Commission ordinance in 2014.

In this case though, I thought she would abstain due to the fact her husband is a police officer and the head of Fraternal Order of Police. Instead, Charity worked hard to smear Elias Diaz [links mine; Mayor Sam Kooiker, quoted by John Tsitrian, "Rapid City (SD) Mayor Sam Kooiker Responds To My Post," The Constant Commoner, 2014.06.27].

That's not going to make the next City Council meeting any easier.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.06.28

    Sam was, and still is, right about the racism that drove, and still drives, the council's and Rapid City's entrenched, institutionalized bigotry.

  2. Rorschach 2014.06.28

    The racists on the council probably were motivated by racism among other things. The vote as a whole probably turned on Mayor Kooiker's skipping the chain of command with his in-house pick and trying to railroad it through the council. The person who ended up getting the job had a lot more support in the police force and in the community than did Mayor Kooiker's choice.

    Reminds me of a time when Governor Janklow picked a Captain to be the Adjutant General of the National Guard - skipping over majors, lt. colonels, colonels, and generals. It worked out o.k. in the end, but Mayor Kooiker is no Bill Janklow who could get away with such things.

  3. Loren 2014.06.28

    Sure, Sam, you didn't screw da pooch on your fast track, back door, appoint-a friend selection. It was Charity. It was Bill. Of course, the other 6 couldn't think for themselves and were very happy with the way you did things. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Eli is a good cop, but he isn't just a Lt., he is a JUNIOR Lt. I better quit before I say what I really think!

  4. Tim 2014.06.28

    If Diaz was qualified or not, we will never truly know now, but the council has been and still is as bigoted as ever. I'm sure it pissed them off when the Mayor didn't kiss their asses as well. Sam may be a lot of things, but he never kisses the councils collective asses.

  5. Danno 2014.06.28


    Come on here. The first choice was lousy, by any definition. The first choice had a theology major, and experience managing small groups. The second choice had more experience with larger numbers of people in more areas, and majors in degrees related to his field, and was working on his masters. Without knowing the individuals personally, this puts choice number 2 far ahead in my book.

    I disagree with Sam in some areas, and agree with him in many others. This was not racist in my opinion, I think Sam's friendship with choice #1 and religion got the better of him in this case. Choice #2 in my book was a far better deal for us in Rapid, at least as far as I can tell with the information I have to go on.

    Nuff said.

  6. Danno 2014.06.28

    Follow-up to post:

    I do not defend Charity. I have not read the book, but heard enough to think that we should not ever elect her again, ever, due to what was in that book, which was ill-advised if not out-rightly stupid to publish then run for office. Put a "kick-me" sign on your own back is what that was.

    I can still say that given the information that has been presented to the public, the first choice would have been a bad choice, look at the qualifications and experience. No racist anything from my quarter.

    Needed to counter some other posts that perhaps hadn't considered some of the data. go to the journal website, and search "rapid city police chief" and draw your own conclusions.

  7. Jerry 2014.06.28

    Bad enough her racism and then find out that her husband is just as sleazy. Lay with the dogs, get the fleas.

  8. John 2014.06.29

    The mayor's choice should have received support to allow his decision to rise or fall on its merits. It's common in senior levels to tap an apparent junior to lead an organization. The most stark example is Eisenhower, who was junior to about all the senior generals at the time of his selection, the 19-year major was denied the opportunity to serve in WWI combat, had not commanded a regiment, brigade, division, or corps. While the mayor's choice was no-where near as weighty, the Diaz nomination deserved a favorable vote in the absence of clear and compelling evidence of unfitness to serve or lead - all of which is absent. The SF Argus op-ed on the rubes leading South Dakota equally applies to the RC council.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.29

    The Rapid City police department needs to be stirred up from top to bottom. They have an arrogant attitude and never make mistakes even when they might as well come from another planet. Taking advantage of dinky speed limit signs that change the limits with no apparent logic is not good enforcement for traffic safety, it is enforcement for revenue enhancement. "serve and protect" seem like about the last things they often think about.

    Mayor Sam is aware of the problems, and told us that complaining about incompetent enforcement would just lead to revenge by the force. That is not the way a mayor should view the police, and it is not the way citizens should be subordinated to men with guns and no brains.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.29

    It is my wish that Clayton and Doyle are very uncomfortable at future council meeting after Mayor Sam's scathing comments, they deserve to be.
    I'm inclined to agree with the mayor on the point of racism by these two and wonder about their influence on the other aldermen.
    Rapid City is well known for its racism and the Diaz appointment took a lot of us by surprise only to have it reversed and the true colors of the Rapid City Common Council revealed.

  11. Loren 2014.06.29

    Doug, you must cast your stones from quite a distance because you know very little of what you speak. Sounds like you might have gotten a speeding ticket and are a little irritated. I'm pretty sure our men and women in blue have very little to do with signage. I have done numerous ride-alongs and attended many, many shift briefing over the last 8 yrs and I don't hear racist remarks, comments on quotas or revenue, etc. Do a ride-along. Sit in on a briefing. See for yourself or just toss stones. And if you don't like their work, next time you need a cop, call Sam! Geez!

  12. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.30

    Loren, I am well aware cops don't place signs, but it should be obvious to even them that if they arrest a lot of speeders just past a dinky sign that their is a signage problem they should report rather than exploit for revenue enhancement.

    And no, we have not been arrested for speeding in RC. The issue is more complex than that and involved a fabricated report to police that was obviously false made apparently by someone driving drunk and making up a story. My son's parked car was near the alley of the guy's lawyer. He saw the license number and used that to file a fabricated tale. Unfortunately for him the car was not driveable. Cops harassed my son anyway.

    But, when one of his cars was shot at and a window broken while it was parked, police would not even look at the damage which would have indicated where rifle shot came from.

    Publish your actual full name if you want to make assertions about me and my family. Otherwise you are spineless, gutless twit.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.30

    In its usual fashion, the Rapid City Journal has not covered this story.
    Maybe there will be coverage later in the week when the story is old than it is now.

  14. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.30

    I checked the speed trap site. Interesting. I am not sure all are speed traps, in my mind, it depends on quality, size, and placement of speed limits and speed limit changes.

    I worked in highway safety, a speed is probably a greatly over-estimated contribution to vehicle crashes. When cops or patrol can't think of any other crash cause, they tend to indicate speed as a contributing factor.

    My guess now is that cellphone texting, GPS screens below driving eye level, tailgating, and of course drunken driving are much more likely to cause crashes than slight speeding.

    Patrolmen and cops don't like arresting drunks. They too often vomit in the patrol cars.

  15. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.30

    I noted that Winner, SD is not indicated as being a speed trap. One thing done here that probably helps a lot controlling speeding are radar speed detecting signs on highway were speed drops to 30mph. That will catch your attention if you are over the speed limit. But, police here need to start issuing warning tickets for mindless tailgating. There are far too many vehicles with dings on front and rear and my guess is most of these result from tailgating which makes no sense whatsoever in this small town.

  16. Loren 2014.06.30

    My, my, Doug! The name is Symonds. You want my address and phone number? First you call members of the PD "men with guns and no brains" and then call me a gutless wimp. Aren't we tuff? Personal friends of mine have been injured, shot at and even killed in the line of duty while you have your hissy fit about traffic signs. You seem trivial in the over all scheme of things. Have a nice life.

  17. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.30

    OK Loren, you provided your name. Thanks. I worked with the SD Highway Patrol and rode with policemen 40 years ago when I was assistant director and PIE officer for the SD:ASAP. I was pretty well indoctrinated with info from state and federal highway safety as well as that from insurance associations. Good signing is an essential part of effective fair traffic control. Rapid City has hired consultants on tourism development and one of the recommendations was better signing. The signing in RC is dreadful considering how many tourists drive there. That is not the fault of the police, but if they really want effective traffic control and highway safety, they should encourage better signing which can reduce highway hazards.

    When I worked with drunken driving enforcement, I heard enough stories of corruption in law enforcement in some of the cities we had contracts with. Money and influence could mean a policemen's log book being destroyed and a nice ride home instead of a night in jail with your car impounded.

    I have no sympathy with thugs who harm police in any way, but police and patrolmen can do a lot to make their own lives better and safer in a community if they get over their guns on their hips mentality and viewing everybody they have contact with as if they just broke out of prison. I worked with highway patrolmen and cops who were some of the best people in SD, but I was also aware that there is more than a little arrogance and incompetence in law enforcement. And, Rapid City was and mostly is still run by a bunch of good old boys. That is not a good environment for effective, honest police work.

    The "gutless wimp" was in a conditional phrase. You provided your name apparently. Re-read the phrase.

    And it is not just cops who get injured and maimed. Farmers, ranchers, miners, and a whole lot more do in their "line of duty". Cows can be killers and maimers too. And a lot of good people get killed by drunken drivers and some good honest people die because of incompetent highway signage. Cops are in no way unique despite the propaganda spread by those associated with law enforcement.

  18. Stan Adelstein 2014.07.01

    I have never seen such nonsense and unthinking accusation on THIS blog. The Lieutenant's rejection had nothing not even a tiny smidgen of racism!!
    Qualifications were so disparate as to make one really wonder why the Mayor made such a choice. I really do not know - and the blather about his last name or lineage is totally ridiculous.

    The best simile that I have used, rings absolutely true with anyone of us who have worn the uniform. I suggest the appointment as being the same as making an US Army Lieutenant (and I once was one) the Battalion Commander because he was a friend of the General. Every former soldier that I know agrees it would be destructive of morale in the unit as well as rendering operational direction a laughing matter. In that regard, not a single, not one cop has disagreed with me, and more than sixteen, that I do not know, have thanked me.

    The speeding sign was done at the request of State Patrol, not the RC Police leadership. Done for the sole purpose of an excuse to stop questionable vehicles travelling the drug railroad. Was it more right, or wrong than those purveyors of death and addiction? There is a Jewish expression, "something done for the wrong reason, may sometimes become the right reason"

    I am glad someone asked me to look at this piece. Funny to be in disagreement (I think for the first time) with most/nearly all of this milarky.

    Stan Adelstein

  19. larry kurtz 2014.07.01

    Rapid City is a hole of biblical proportions irrespective of its council.

  20. Danno 2014.07.01

    Thanks Larry. Personally, I like living here overall, (in Rapid).

  21. Jerry 2014.07.01

    So there you go, according to Mr. Adelstein, the sign was like a broken headlight (that cops broke) that used to be used to stop suspicious traffic years ago just so you can see just who and what is going on. What a relief, I thought for a minute that the police were actually trying to do safety checks on vehicles. Instead it is more of the "war on drugs". Mr. Adelstein, the war is over and your side lost and it has costs America a tremendous amount of money each day this farce continues. Our prisons are full, so full they release dangerous criminals to install some pot smokers. Whats up with that? The numbers we speak of are some $30,000.00 per inmate each year. This is for a weed that is used for medicine, industrial usage, clothing, food oh and if you get some of the good stuff, to get you high. This is what the prisons are full of. For what? Milarkey indeed.

  22. Danno 2014.07.01

    I won't argue the interstate speed changes, too far off topic.

    Jerrys comments on the war on drugs have merit IMHO.

    On topic, I will say that the original choice for chief was badly flawed, the second choice was much better, based on experience, qualifications, and proven ability. Any race-related claims are just that, claims out of blue sky. The mayor in this case, is blowing smoke. Stan's comments on the police chief issue in Rapid are 100% accurate in my opinion.

  23. larry kurtz 2014.07.01

    Cory: did you know Gordon Howie's E. St. Patrick St. property just came on the market? Cars out front are gone.

  24. grudznick 2014.07.01

    Mr. kurtz, we can only hope it becomes a pool hall again.

  25. Lloyd (MAX) Booher 2014.07.07

    I personnelly feel that mayor Kooiker's attacks against Charity and Tim Doyle are CHILDISH at the least and very Politically motivated at the worst. His appointment of Diaz, in my opinion, was done to enhance his minority votes. I do not denegrate Lt. Diaz's qualifications. I feel the counsel's vote better reflects the need to present this city with the best possible candidate for that very important position. Please keep up the good work Counsel.

  26. Ron Sasso 2014.07.10

    The Mayor is charged with appointing a candidate and it is the council's job to determine whether or not that candidate is qualified. In the case of Diaz, I believe he was qualified based on his experience. The selection committee did too. They selected three candidates that they felt were qualified. Lt. Diaz is in charge of the police department's accreditation and has a great understanding of what it takes to have a great police department. The appointment was likely designed to change the direction of the police department. This is nothing against Jegeris. He too was listed in the three qualified candidates. The Mayor quickly appointed him after realizing that it was a fight he would not have the votes for.

    The council's decision to deny the appointment was interesting to say the least. The argument that the chain of command is the only way to promote raises some serious questions in my mind and can be a rigid way of thinking. How can you change or improve an organization if you cannot make any changes to that organization and the top spot promotes the next successor? That line of thinking is often seen in a dictatorship. There were people coming out of the woodwork to protest this change---that should raise questions. If Diaz is qualified, why MUST the chain of command be followed? In the private sector people leap frog frequently in promotions. I have not heard a convincing argument that he was not qualified.

    The charge of racism or prejudice is often determined by observing behavior. The issues that have become the hottest topics are ones that should not have been hot topics. Human Relations Commission? Disability Consideration Policy? Why would these be areas for heated debate unless they are striking a deep inner chord? The book, "Political Prostitution," will not win any awards and has spotty research (IMO). There are some sections that I find simply appalling. It was written only six years ago and was self-published. It's best to read it, watch video of discussions of the topics mentioned and then reach your own conclusion.

    One last thought....A year and half ago in the midst of concerns about racism and prejudice on the council I sought out a professional who taught about multicultural issues at the graduate level. She was willing to provide training to the Rapid City Council for free. I provided this option to the council and council leadership refused this offer.

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