Northern Arapaho Tribal Officials Call on Justice Department to Declare Shootings of Two of Its Members Hate Crimes

Ron Cyde walked into a detox center and shot 2 American Indian men

Ron Cyde walked into a detox center and shot 2 American Indian men

The Saturday shooting left one tribal member dead and one seriously wounded

RIVERTON,  WYOMING—Northern Arapaho tribal officials are going for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Saturday’s shootings of two of its members, Stallone Trosper and Sonny Googles, as hate crimes, which left one dead and one shot by Ron Clyde, 32, 13-year Riverton City Parks and Recreation employee.

Trosper, 29, was killed and Sonny Googles, cousin to the tribal chairman, was seriously wounded.

Clyde is accused of walking into a detoxification center and shot the two homeless American Indian men “because he was tired of cleaning up after the homeless” population.

Riverton is a small town of some 11,000 in central Wyoming.

The Riverton police department said Clyde made that statement after the Saturday tragic incident that happened about 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Clyde maintains he did not target members of any race; he simply wanted to kill homeless people.

Tribal leaders were quick to call on the Justice Department to intervene.

“Stallone Trosper and Sonny Goggles are part of our community, they are members of our Tribe, they are human beings, and they matter to us,” said Northern Arapaho Business Councilman Norman Willow. “We are sickened by what has happened here.”

“The trend of violence against Indian people in and around Riverton is alarming,” said Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Dean Goggles. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families. It’s our responsibility as tribal leaders to do everything we can to try and stop these crimes of hate.”

“We see the need for an investigation by the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,” said Councilmember Richard Brannan. “The Council has received a steady stream of reports about abusive behavior towards native people. In 2013, a Northern Arapaho woman was shot in the face by a passing car in Riverton, and the Riverton Hospital released her without treatment. Now, another two of our tribal members have been gunned down while in a shelter. I’ve lived here my whole life, and the anti-Indian sentiment seems to be getting worse.”

“This violence against Native Americans has to stop,” said Co-Chairman Ron McElroy. “Community leaders need to be honest about what is happening here. The Tribe has tried to reach out and address some of these matters through intergovernmental agreements we presented to Riverton a few years ago. Last year we hosted the ‘Mending Fences’ symposium, but we need more cooperation from local and federal government to make it clear that these attitudes and this sort of hate is not acceptable.”

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