On June 1, 2012, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for any and all records relating to the 1983 death of Jerome Eddie Peltier on the Devils Lake Sioux Reservation.
Exactly 700 pages were culled and reviewed by the FBI, and roughly one year later 353 were released, most of which were heavily redacted – that is, with the exception of government-issued press releases and certain high-profile media accounts, as well as commendation letters from former Director of Central Intelligence and then-FBI Director William Webster, Reagan-appointed US Attorney General Edwin Meese, and highly-decorated FBI SAC Lawrence G. Lawler. In sum, this case reached the highest levels of American jurisprudence.
Many of the heavily redacted documents are FD-302s, a form used by FBI agents to report or summarize the interviews that they conduct. Thanks to David Thompson, the first defense attorney involved in the case and who to this day advocates the innocence of all 11 defendants, I was already in possession of all known 302s and was able to compare and graph redacted and unredacted versions for clarity. Interestingly, I discovered heretofore unknown 302s which may, or may not have been disclosed to the defense prior to or during trial.
In the meantime, please click on the links below to peruse the FBI’s correspondence with me and the first batch of case documents released under FOIA.