Published November 16, 2017
ODANAH, WISCONSIN – The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe (Bad River Tribe) is requesting the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to open a criminal civil rights and civil police misconduct investigation into an incident of excessive force by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, which resulted in the tragic death of 14-year-old Jason Ike Pero.
This call to open an investigation came yesterday, Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The announcement was made through an press release distributed by the tribe.
In addition, the Bad River Tribe is disputing the Wisconsin Department of Justice news release issued this past Saturday, November 11, 2017, relating to the tragedy, which happened shortly before noon on Wednesday, November 8, 2017.
In the release published by Native News Online on Saturday eveining, Jason, a tribal citizen of the Bad River Tribe, is portrayed as “being a troubled young man that acted in a violent manner towards the deputy.”
The press release reads, in part:
On Saturday November 11, 2017, the Department of Justice Communications Office released a press release in regard to the preliminary findings for the death of Jason Pero. In their statement, the DOJ attempts to describe Jason as being a troubled young man that acted in a violent manner towards the deputy. The Bad River Tribal Council does not agree with this recent press release, nor the excessive use of force on a minor child.
“This police brutality has to end, it’s an epidemic in our country and against all Native Americans,” said Holly Gauthier, mother of Jason Pero. “Now our family is counted among them. Many of these killings are unlawful and are not properly prosecuted. Our laws about prosecuting unlawful police conduct need to change, and this has to end now.”
The Tribal Council would like to make note that Jason was not a threat, he was known in the community as a kind and gentle person with a great sense of humor. The family of Jason Pero would like to remind everyone of Jason’s message. That he was a sweet and non-violent boy, and to grieve in a healthy way, and not to channel grief through violence and angry posts on social media.
“Our family would like to thank everyone for their continued support as we mourn for my son Jason and we continue to demand justice. There is no reason a police officer should ever shoot a child, and there is no reason that police should be shooting to kill,” said Gauthier.
The Bad River Tribal Council and community deeply appreciate all the prayers and love sent from across the country for the family during this tragic time.