Representative Lynn DiSanto left and Representative Elizabeth May right
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota representative who feared for her safety in a recent confrontation with Republican Rep. David Johnson is speaking with reporters about Johnson’s conduct. GOP Rep. Lynne DiSanto said Tuesday that the Capitol is her workplace, and everybody should be able to come to work there and feel safe. The confrontation occurred last week on the House floor.
Helping to intervene in the encounter was Representatives Elizabeth May who said there was pressure from leadership not to confront the issue. However, May said that Representative Dan Kaiser, who is an Aberdeen Police Officer, intervened with an investigation.
May said she can’t erase what she saw happened and that she stands by her attempts to intervene in the altercation. She says the incident should have been dealt with by leadership last Thursday morning, but wasn’t until the next afternoon. May says it’s the first time in her six years in Pierre that something this serious wasn’t handled right away. DiSanto said these kinds of things need to be addressed immediately.
DiSanto said she accepted an apology from Johnson and that she is not considering civil charges against him. But, she added, someone doesn’t have to touch you for it to be considered an assault.
DiSanto is hopeful the Republican legislative leadership will take a “more serious look” at such allegations in the future. The House speaker released security footage Tuesday of the altercation. The silent video shows Johnson approach DiSanto several times before Representative Elizabeth May and House Majority Leader Lee Qualm intervene. May says the video is missing Johnson’s words and “rage.”