For many months, communication between the Boulder City Review and the city has been clear and open. And that is a good thing.
We have learned — and shared news — about new personnel that have been hired, new equipment and projects, awards won by staff, challenges to the fire department’s response times, budget issues and more.
But now, coming on the heels of Sunshine Week, which shines a light on the need for government transparency, it seems we have hit a giant stone wall.
Since early June of 2021 we have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a copy of any records involving the May 31 shooting that left 40-year-old Boulder City resident Scott Dingman dead.
Our initial report on the incident said that “when police arrived they found one person dead and another person surrendered voluntarily to them.”
The county coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide.
The records bureau at the police department told us that we would not be able to get a narrative from the incident report and that no information from the case can be released because the city attorney wanted to keep it open until a year after the deadly shooting.
According to City Attorney Brittany Walker, the case will remain open on the chance that more evidence will be found, even though she readily admits that nothing has “come to light.” She said this is “normal procedure.”
“… the Police Department and I believe that allowing at least one year from the date of the incident to allow time should any new evidence to come to light is reasonable,” she wrote in an email.
So we have to wonder why, if the alleged shooter voluntarily surrendered and no new evidence has been found, the case is still open and under investigation. What new information can come to light that hasn’t been found in the past 10 months?
Where would this new evidence come from? Was a witness out of the country for work? Vacation? Does it take this long to process fingerprints? Examine the weapon used?
It makes us wonder if the case is being held open because the city’s police department was not capable of completing the investigation in a timely manner or gathering all the evidence necessary from a situation that seems pretty simple from an outsider’s perspective.
Keeping the case open is even more baffling after learning from Walker that it was submitted to the county district attorney’s office instead of her office for prosecution, and that the DA determined that “no viable charges could be filed at this time.”
We can only hope that on May 31 the case will be closed and we can finally get answers to these questions. We also hope that it brings a sense of closure to the family of Scott Dingman so they can move forward and end this limbo they have been in.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.