fbpx
 

CROW AGENCY, Mont. — On Tuesday, July 27, the Crow Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit in the Crow Nation Tribal Court against a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police officer for excessive use of force during a traffic stop for a bad turn signal last week on the Crow Indian Reservation.

According to the complaint, on July 20, 2021, BIA Officer Steve Stallings, a non-tribal member, was working in his capacity as a BIA agent on the Crow Indian Reservation when he responded to a traffic stop in Lodge Grass, Mont. When Officer Stallings arrived on the scene, he deployed his K-9 unit, after the original officer deployed his taser on two separate occasions while the victim was on the ground. After Officer Stallings was unable to get his K-9 to comply with his orders, the victim Harris Redstar, a Crow tribal member, sustained emotional and physical injuries as a result of the incident.

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

“The reservation needs to be a safe place for tribal and non-tribal people alike,” said Chief Prosecutor for the Crow Tribe David Sibley to Native News Online. “And those tasked with enforcing the laws within the jurisdiction of the reservation, need to follow them as well.”

The incident was recorded and made public by a video taken by the victim’s wife and shared on social media. The video appears to show Redstar not resisting arrest. Since the arrest, Redstar has had multiple surgeries to repair his tendon, bone, and muscle. He wasn’t arrested or issued a traffic citation for the incident.  

“Unfortunately, nothing in this video is surprising to anyone who has lived on the Crow Nation,” said Sibley. “Although law enforcement must cover 2.3 million acres and resources are stretched, we still need quality, trained law enforcement. Excessive force against Crow people by a federal officer should never happen. The video clearly shows an officer who is not properly trained, who cannot control a K-9, and shouldn’t be policing our people and tribal lands.”

Donate today so Native News is free for all readers.

The complaint states BIA Officer Stallings committed aggravated assault, criminal endangerment, and negligent endangerment. According to the Constitution of the Crow Tribe, aggravated assault is when “a person purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another,” or “causes bodily injury to another with the use of a weapon.” A “Weapon” is defined as “any instrument, article, or substance that, regardless of its primary function, is readily capable of being used to produce death or serious bodily injury.” 

“If you turn a dog loose, you must be able to stop it,” Sibley said of the incident, which he filed on behalf of the Crow Nation. “We can’t have people out there with weapons they don’t know how to use.”

The Crow Tribe has civil jurisdiction within the boundaries of its reservation, and jurisdiction of some criminal matters, but not for major felony crimes or crimes committed by non-tribal members. The jurisdiction belongs to the United States Department of Justice. 

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Indian Affairs was unable to provide a comment to the complaint filed against BIA Officer Stallings. 

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (January 16, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to Host Annual "Would Jesus Eat Frybread?" Conference
Navajo Nation President Addresses Arizona State Legislature on Issues Facing Navajo People
Hundreds Gather for Clyde Bellecourt’s Funeral Services in Minneapolis
Triple Homicide on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a freelance journalist and based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he also contributes to Unicorn Riot, an alternative media publication. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.