Police Violence Against Native Americans
Eagle Butte man dies after CRST police officers beat him
Phillip M. High Bear Sr., age 33, of Eagle Butte was arrested on Sept. 15 for being intoxicated and thrown into what is known as the drunk tank, where inmates sleep on cement floors without
mattresses and bedding.
CRST Lieutenant Chad Olson reports that Phillip was discovered in his jail cell with shallow breathing and was transported to the Indian Health Service hospital in Eagle Butte.
Paula Mae High Bear mother of Phillip said she was in Sioux Falls when she received a call from a doctor at I.H.S. that she needed to come and identify her son who was brought in unresponsive from the CRST jail and later died.
“He said when they brought him in he was unresponsive. The doctor said he worked and worked on him but was not able to revive him,” she said.
When Paula Mae and other family members went to the funeral home, the funeral director told her to be prepared when she sees him because he has a lot of bruising.
“He was all beat up,” she said tearfully. “They (CRST police) picked on him all the time. They beat him up twice before. He had long beautiful hair and he said, ‘Mom I want to cut my hair so they will stop pulling my hair.’”
She said witnesses came forward and have told her that when police officers arrested Phillip he was maced repeatedly and drug on his stomach. Another witness told her that several people were hollering at police officers to stop.
However Olson denies Phillip was beaten by police officers.
“That is not true,” Olson said. “There is no facts or anything. I know what people are saying and all I can say is, it is not true. It will all come out in the investigation.”
Olson said the case is under investigation by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Internal Affairs.
Phillip is survived by one son, Phillip High Bear Jr., of Rapid City; one daughter: Sonique High Bear of Dupree. His father is Timothy High Elk, of Ft. Yates, N.D.
Phillip was laid to rest at the Episcopal Cemetery in LaPlante on Wed. Sept. 23.
(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our questions need answers, is it a serial killer? White supremacy? Hate crimes? Is there any evidence and if there is what is it? Natives need to be careful and care for one another. If you see someone drunk or passed out help them, get them to detox, do something! PLEASE.
Denver District Attorney Clears Police In Shooting Of Native American Man
Warning: Graphic video shows how the deadly encounter unfolded.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has declined to press criminal charges against a Denver police officer who shot and killed a Native American man in July.
The man, Paul Castaway, holding a knife to his own throat and threatening to kill himself, was walking toward officers when Officer Michael Traudt fired three shots into Castaway’s midsection. Along with a nine-page report explaining his decision, Morrissey on Monday released surveillance footage of the shooting.
The shooting spurred protests in Denver this summer, as Castaways’ family disputed the initial police account that claimed Castaway, 35, came “dangerously close” to officers with a knife. At the time, they said officers didn’t have to shoot him, and he was clearly mentally ill and in need of help. Prior to releasing the video publicly, Morrissey had shown it to members of Castaway’s family, who said it showed him holding the knife to his throat—not pointing it in the direction of the police.
Lynn Eagle Feather, Castaway’s mother, blasted Morrissey’s decision. “I don’t think it’s right,” she told Mother Jones on Monday. “Because the Denver Police have been getting away with killing so many young people. Yeah my son had a knife to his throat, but he was more of a threat to himself than he was to the police.”
According to Morrissey’s report, officers were deployed to Eagle Feather’s apartment after she called and told the police that her son had arrived, “mentally ill and drunk.” She said she had been watching her grandchildren, and that her son had poked her in the neck with a knife, so she took the kids to a building across the street for safety. When the police arrived, they talked to Eagle Feather there and then went back to her apartment to see if her son was still around. As they escorted the mother back to her home, the officers spotted Castaway, who began running.
The officers chased him to a nearby trailer park, where they cornered him between a fence and a minivan. Castaway turned around, with the knife to his own throat, while walking in the direction of the officers. The surveillance footage shows the officers backing up as Castaway walks toward them with the knife still to his throat. According to Traudt, Castaway “started to move the knife from his throat toward me, and he didn’t stick it out, but he brought it down, and he was walking at me just aggressively and he wouldn’t stop, and I didn’t feel like I could back up anymore.”
Castaway had his back to the surveillance camera that captured footage of the shooting, so it’s impossible to tell whether the knife was actually coming away from his neck. The video also shows a lot of bystanders in the area, including several children.
“I called for help,” Eagle Feather said. “I didn’t call for a killing. And I can never get my son back.”
Eagle Feather told Mother Jones that the police need more training on how to deal with the mentally ill. She said she’s considering legal action against the Denver Police Department. The city of Denver has paid out more than $10 million in the last four years related to excessive police force, according to the Colorado Independent.
Morrissey said his decision was based on the law.
“In this case, Castaway’s decision to turn, confront the officers and deliberately advance toward Officer Traudt, knife in hand, rather than complying with his orders, compelled Officer Traudt to shoot,” Morissey said in the report. “The surveillance video clearly depicts Castaway moving quickly and purposefully toward Officer Traudt. Castaway’s actions and the statements he made suggest he had decided to die and further decided that Officer Traudt would be the instrument of his demise.”