South Dakota Department of Corrections faces racial harassment, discrimination federal lawsuit
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -A former Correctional officer at the Mike Durfee Prison in Springfield hopes that others won’t have to face what he believes to be racial harassment and discrimination within the department of corrections. He’s filed this lawsuit with the hope of creating change.
Last April, our I-Team brought you the story of Dallas Tronvold, recounting how his co-workers treated him at the prison.
“I was called a prairie ***** by a supervisor,” said Tronvold. “A female officer stated, well, when do you guys get your Indian money?”
He says other staff kept him against his will between two prison gates.
“I asked the sergeant why the gate was shut, and he stated to me, ‘you ain’t going anywhere,” said Tronvold.
A report was filed with the local Sheriff’s department, which referred the complaint to the DOC. he also e-mailed Governor Noem’s office. There was no response.
However, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission did hear his concerns, investigated, and sent Tronvold a right-to-sue letter.
Along with his attorney R. Shawn Tornow, Tronvold shows us the documents filed in federal court, including words from a former supervisor about the Tronvold family, saying: “Shoot them. Pour sugar an the gas tank.”
Tronvold has words of caution for those considering working for the DOC.
“I just don’t recommend it to anybody. Just due to the racism and discrimination, because it’s out there,” said Tronvold.
Tornow wants to assist Tronvold in bringing the concerns to light.
“It’s a terrible ordeal that he went through and had to suffer through and trying to do the right thing and calling it to folk’s attention, and really getting nowhere other than to be retaliated against, it’s something that needs to be addressed,” said Tornow.
We reached out to the South Dakota Department of Corrections, Secretary of Corrections Kellie Wasko, and a representative of Governor Noem’s office and have yet to receive a response.
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