Aug 29, 2014 - Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals by Brandon Ecoffey*
*This article was first published in the Native Sun News
CLINTON, Okla. — Two recipients of the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association Medal of Honor were also involved in the shooting death of Mah-hi-Vist GoodBlanket. The parents of GoodBlanket feel that both the shooting of their son and the awards given are unjustified.
In December of 2013, the GoodBlankets had called the police to their home after their son Mah-hi-Vist (18) had raised alarm after slipping in to what they have called an Oppositional Defiant Disorder episode.
“We called the police to protect him,” said his mother Melissa. “By the time the police had arrived he had calmed down and was in there with his girlfriend.”
The GoodBlankets were waiting in their car when police deputies first arrived at their home. According to them, two officers entered the home through a broken window and then within seconds exited through the same window. The GoodBlankets say that there was then a second entry that ended with the shooting of Mah-hi-Vist seconds after officers breached the house.
The officers have claimed that Mah-hi-Vist had threatened officers with a knife and that they were forced to shoot him.
The GoodBlankets say that the claims of officers do not reflect what they saw happen from their vantage point in the driveway where they say they could see in to the windows of the home. Custer County Sheriffs had been accompanied by two Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen in the final moments of Mah-hi-Vist’s as he was in the home with his girlfriend. Autopsy reports show that Mah-hi-Vist was shot 7 times, once in the head, and twice by a Taser gun.
“His girlfriend came running out on the yard screaming that they had shot him,” said Melissa GoodBlanket, the mother of Mah-hi-Vist.
Melissa says that the shooting was an example of excessive force and feels that the shooting was unnecessary.
Chance Avery, one of the officers who shot Mah-hi-Vist GoodBlanket. Photo from Facebook
The Officers were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and returned to work after a short leave of absence. So when the Oklahoma Sheriff’s association chose Dillon Mach and Chance Avery to be recipients of the Medal of Honor “In recognition of (their) performance above and beyond the call of duty, while disregarding your own personal safety and exhibiting exceptional courage in a life threatening situation,” the parents of Mah-hi-Vist were “angered.”
“It makes me think of the soldiers riding through Denver after Sand Creek,” said Wilbur GoodBlanket, the father of Mah-hi-Vist GoodBlanket. “It was like they were being recognized for shooting our son.”
Dillon Mach was the other officer. Photo from Facebook
Instead of just accepting the claims of officers the family has not let up on their efforts to seek what they feel is justice for their son and have organized several rallies including one yesterday at the Oklahoma State capitol.
“We appreciate any support that people may give and not just from Native people. We welcome support from all people and races,” said Melissa GoodBlanket.
For more information on the efforts of the GoodBlanket family you can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TouchingCloudGoodblanket.
Brandon is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who earned his education at Dartmouth College. He is the managing editor of Native Sun News and a contributor to LastRealIndians.com. He has been published globally and also works as the Life and Current events editor at Native Max Magazine.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright permission Native Sun News