Six Native Americans Killed by Police in Last Two Months of 2014Tweet
Recent mass demonstrations in response to the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown by police have brought international attention to the on-going issue of police brutality specifically against the Black community. Less publicized is the high rates of police violence directed towards the Native American community.
In the last two months of 2014 six Native Americans have been killed by the police.
Joy Ann Sherman (Lakota)
Mitchell, South Dakota– On November 8th, Joy Ann Sherman was shot by police in Mitchell, SD. Joy Ann Sherman reportedly called a counselor at a drug and alcohol abuse facility from her hotel room, where she stated she had a gun and was going to hurt herself. The counselor contacted the Mitchell police. The responding officer spoke to Joy Ann twice on the phone where she again stated that she had a gun and was going to hurt herself. When the officer approached her hotel room he reported seeing the door opening and feared for his life. He fired three shots. Joy Ann Sherman was transferred to a Sioux Falls hospital where she later died from injuries.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, in his investigation, ruled the shooting justified.
Christina Tahhahwah (Comanche)
Lawton, Oklahoma– On November 13, the family of Christina Tahhahwah called the police to ask for assistance in bringing her to the hospital in order to receive medical care. Christina Tahhahwah, who was at her grandparents’ home at the time, suffered from bi-polar disorder and had recently stopped taking her medication. When the police arrived Christina became angry and refused to go with the police.
She was arrested, charged with trespassing, and placed into police custody. On Nov 14th, she was discovered “unresponsive” in her cell. She had gone into cardiac arrest and was transferred to a hospital where she later died. The family was not notified of her transfer to the hospital until 2 AM on Nov 15th, over 12 hours after the transfer.
Fellow inmates stated that Christina Tahhahwah had been tasered repeatedly for refusing to stop singing Comanche hymns.
Myles Roughsurface (Navajo)
Spencerville New Mexico– On November 28th, a San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputy was flagged down by two men to report a scuffle. As deputies arrived on the scene they reported hearing gun shots and called for additional backup. Five deputies approached what they described as “silhouette” of a person and fired two shots. They report a man yelling “you missed”. The officers repositioned themselves and fired two more shots at the “silhouette”. Myles Roughsurface fell to the ground dead.
17-year old Hoopa tribal member (name withheld)
Eureka California– On December 18th, a California Highway Patrol officer responded to a car crash on Highway 299. When the officer arrived he encountered a 17-year old Hoopa tribal member who had crashed his car into a power pole. The officer reports that the teen attacked him with a machete when he shot the teen. The officer reports waiting in his squad car until backup arrived. The second responding officer used a stun-gun on the shot teen and then, with the help of two passerbys, handcuffed the teen. The teen was later pronounced dead.
Allen Locke (Lakota)
Rapid City South Dakota– On December 20th, Rapid City police were dispatched to the Lakota Community Homes subdivision. There officer Anthony Meirose confronted and shot Allen Locke up to five times. Locke was pronounced dead at the scene. The day before the shooting Locke had participated in a #NativeLivesMatter anti-police brutality rally and march in Rapid City. Investigation into the shooting is on-going.
Naverone Christian Landon Woods (Gitxsan First Nation)
Surrey British Columbia– On December 28th, Naverone Christian Landon Woods (Gitxsan First Nation) was killed by Surrey Transit police in Surrey British Columbia. Transit police report being called to a convenience store located near the Surrey Central SkyTrain station where they encountered Woods, reportedly with a knife, where the fatal shooting took place.
Investigators with the Independent Investigations Office continue to look into the incident.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, states that Native Americans and African Americans are the “racial” groups most likely to be killed by law enforcement.
Cover photo by: Lakota Art Studio