A Rapid City man pleaded not guilty Monday to accusations he tried to attack multiple police officers with a knife while they were responding to a call for service in March. Prosecutors decided not to move forward with the man’s four other original charges, including rape.
Michael Whirlwind Horse, 31, pleaded not guilty to six counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement/public officer. Each felony count carries a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison.
The charges stemmed from an incident March 24, in which the Rapid City Police Department said Whirlwind Horse threatened several officers with a “large knife” after they responded to a report of an unwanted person at a residence on Signal Drive.
Police said Whirlwind Horse refused to follow repeated orders to drop the knife and couldn’t be subdued by a stun gun or getting hit with bean bags. He reportedly fled to an adjacent street, Kellogg Place, where he was arrested after again being shot with a stun gun.
Investigators learned that before the alleged confrontation, Whirlwind Horse had taken sleeping medication with alcohol.
Whirlwind Horse’s mother earlier told the court he had been undergoing treatment for a mental illness. He was given permission to leave the treatment facility for his birthday, and he went to a residence that had “significant alcohol.”
Pennington County prosecutors originally charged him with four other offenses: second-degree rape, aggravated assault, simple assault and false imprisonment. It’s not clear from court documents how Whirlwind Horse is related to his accusers.
At Whirlwind Horse’s hearing Monday morning, Deputy State’s Attorney Heather Sazama told 7th Circuit Judge Jeff Davis that the other charges were not presented to the grand jury. They related to “a victim who was not cooperative,” the prosecutor said.
Davis granted Whirlwind Horse’s request to get his bail reduced given the fewer charges he is facing. It has been lowered from $500,000 to $300,000 cash or surety.
Whirlwind Horse denied he was a repeat offender; previous felony convictions could enhance the penalty for new offenses. Sazama said Whirlwind Horse has two existing convictions in Bennett County: sexual exploitation of a minor in 2013 and aggravated assault in 2016.
Whirlwind Horse is scheduled to return to court June 18.