KELOLAND News has learned that a South Dakota lawmaker under investigation for allegedly attacking a fellow lawmaker has a history of stalking.
According to a state record search, Representative David Johnson of Rapid City had temporary protection orders taken out against him in 2005 and 2007 by the same person. In 2003, he faced a charge of entering or refusing to leave a premise. Johnson also faced a charge in 1997 of driving under the influence, for which he was acquitted.
Friday, Johnson apologized for going after Representative Lynne DiSanto, a fellow Republican, on the House floor on Wednesday.
"I'm humiliated by the following actions, and I apologize across the United States of America," Johnson said.
KELOLAND Investigates has learned there is security video of the altercation, but police are not releasing it. Both DiSanto and Johnson turned down our interview requests, but Friday night Representative Dan Kaiser of Aberdeen is speaking out about the incident.
Kaiser made the motion to form a committee on discipline and expulsion.
"Ultimately somebody was in fear of being injured," Kaiser said. "That kind of behavior is inappropriate, we had to stand up and say so."
Kaiser did not witness the incident, but he did talk with Representative DiSanto.
"The victim said a lot of yelling and screaming took place, backed her up, she felt very uncomfortable, she felt like she was going to be assaulted," Kaiser said.
Kaiser also talked to two witnesses.
"One of the witnesses had stepped in, and he told me when he had placed his hand on the representative, and escorted him off, the reason he did that was 'cause he was afraid of escalation," Kaiser said. "And I specifically asked, 'What do you mean by escalation?' Well, it could get physical."
Kaiser doesn't believe Johnson will be charged with aggravated assault, but that he could face some kind of legal repercussions.
"Again, I don't have the full picture, I haven't talked to all the witnesses, but there are a couple laws that could come into play here- disorderly conduct on a legislative floor, ...disorderly conduct itself, and, you know, maybe simple assault," Kaiser said.
Kaiser won't say if expulsion is the answer.
"We have a rule book in place that says these are the steps that need to take place, and those are the steps that I've motioned for today," Kaiser said. "So I think let's follow the rules, see what comes to light, and go from there."
KELOLAND News reached out to Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson, who replied with a message that said, "The committee has been formed and will investigate, gather evidence and make a recommendation to the full house."
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