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Juveniles accused of hate Native Americans

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  • Juveniles accused of hate Native Americans

    Juveniles accused of hate crime after shooting BB gun, throwing urine at Native Americans
    Youths facing felony charges

    By Andrea J. Cook, Journal staff
    Rapid City Journal - 20 March 2009
    Rapid City Journal | News » Top | Juveniles accused of hate crime after shooting BB gun, throwing urine at Native Americans

    A carload of white juveniles allegedly singled out homeless Native Americans on Tuesday evening in what police describe as a string of hate crimes on North Rapid streets.

    Rapid City Chief of Police Steve Allender said the racially-motivated incidents could undermine the city's efforts to mend relationships with its Native American community.

    The juveniles, ranging from 12 to 17 and riding in a brown car, allegedly attacked Native Americans, including a man in a wheelchair, in three incidents. None of the victims was seriously injured and did not require medical treatment.

    Mayor Alan Hanks said the attacks are unacceptable. "All of our citizens deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of ethnicity or economic status."

    Police responding to a call in the 300 block of East Boulevard North learned of the teens' rampage about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    Investigators say a carload of teenagers yelling obscenities circled through a Rent-A-Center parking lot, pointing a gun at a man and woman standing together. As the car moved past a group of six men, one in a wheelchair, a BB gun was fired several times. A bottle of liquid -- urine is suspected -- was thrown at one of the men.

    A few minutes later, a second incident was reported at the intersection of Haines Avenue and Nowlin Street, where an adult Native American male was shot in the back with a BB.

    The victim gave police the car's license plate number and the direction of travel.

    The car was located a short time later with a teenage male driving. Further investigation identified the four other occupants. A black BB handgun and supply of metal pellet ammunition were seized.

    Police determined a 12-year-old passenger was not involved in the incident.

    Because of their ages, the teens will be dealt with in juvenile court, and their names will not be made public, Allender said.

    Four boys face possible felony charges of malicious intimidation or harassment. Allender is requesting that the suspects also be charged with misdemeanor crimes of simple assault and intentionally causing contact with bodily fluids or waste.

    Police believe the same car was involved in another incident Tuesday in the area of Anamosa Street and College Park, where urine allegedly was thrown at three or four juveniles. The identities of the suspects are unknown, but their ages possibly range from 10 to 14.

    Anyone with information about that incident is asked to call the Rapid City Police Department at 394-4134.

    "I pray this was just a fluke," Allender said. "I hope these kids are held accountable and our justice system can do something to help them."

    Allender said Tuesday's events should serve as a learning experience for anyone who considers it fun and enjoyable to pick on homeless people.

    "We will do our part to stick up for those who can't stick up for themselves," Allender said. "We will not tolerate, we will not rest until the perpetrators of this type of crime in the future are held accountable."


    Are you aware of other examples of "hate crimes" against Native Americans in other places across the country?

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

  • #2
    Crimes against Natives spur community meeting
    People Against Racism hold community forum, potluck
    By Jan Hill, Journal correspondent
    Rapid City Journal - 30 March 2009
    Rapid City Journal | News » Top | Crimes against Natives spur community meeting

    Concerned citizens from myriad cultural backgrounds filled a meeting room Sunday night at Woyatan Lutheran Church in Rapid City to share experiences with racism and search for solutions.

    People Against Racism, a local nonprofit organization formed by Rapid City advocates Mary Wright, Hazel Bonner, and Candice Estes, hosted the packed public forum and potluck.

    The meeting room was filled to capacity, with some people standing, as a racially diverse audience of about 50 was invited to share their stories. The crowd couldn't all fit in the meeting room for the potluck, so extra seating and tables were set up outside the room so participants could have a place to sit and eat.

    People Against Racism was formed after the mayor's task force against racism disbanded about two years ago, in February 2007, according to Estes.

    Wright said that in the 55 years she has lived in Rapid City, she has experienced discrimination at its worst. She said many people feel powerless to do anything about racism and the recent crimes against Native Americans here, but they are wrong.

    "They say, 'what can I do?' Believe me, you have power -- everyone does," Wright said. "You just have to speak up, say hey, I live in this town, and some of our residents are being treated badly. I'm not going to stand for it."

    Estes and Bonner encouraged citizens to get involved in the advocacy group. "We need a lot of help," Estes said. "Speak up. Be a volunteer. Join one of our committees."

    Bonner added, "Watch what's happening in our community, report back, and we'll take it on."

    Anita Afraid of Lightning, who attended the meeting, had a very personal reason for doing so: Her brother was one of the victims of the recent drive-by attacks in Rapid City. She said she hopes that advocacy groups and community meetings will help do away with racism and hate crimes here, but she is not optimistic.

    "I don't think anything will change," she said. "Profiling against Native Americans runs deep."

    Dolly Red Elk agreed. "I have lived in Rapid City for 35 years and have had experiences with racism all my life," she said.

    Red Elk's brother was the victim of crime 26 years ago when he was run down and killed by a car along Interstate 90 near Sturgis. "They pulled over and opened the door deliberately so that they would hit him," she said, adding that those responsible only served six months in jail. "It's time to start seeing us as human beings, because we are," she said. "We deserve respect. We're the keepers of the Black Hills."

    Karmelita Plains Bull Martin and her 16-year-old daughter, who was shot with a BB gun March 17 in an unprovoked attack, spoke about the incident, which is believed to be racially motivated.

    "I have never been so reminded that I am a Native American living in Rapid City," Plains Bull Martin said. "But I'm here, and we've become part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution." Her daughter agreed. "I have decided to stay positive, not to hate," she said.

    Kelly Water said she and her five siblings have all experienced discrimination against Native Americans during their time in Rapid City.

    "I figure it's something I'll have to put up with the rest of my life," Water, an Oglala Lakota College student said. "But I will live and die here. My people need me."

    Both Red Elk and Water agreed that much of the reason for racism and the recent crimes against Natives in Rapid City undoubtedly has to do with a lack of communication and understanding between the white and Native American cultures. "Get to know us; we're good people," Red Elk said.

    "We have some fundamental differences, like our relationships with our extended families, language barriers, and sometimes even our definitions of success," Water said. "Success to me is to be able to give a helping hand. How can I go about making a difference?"

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)


    • #3
      "I on the trail of a possible good Indian lady and she is reported to like the old way's and she to believes in big family and being at home with kids all the time"... - MOTOOPI aka WOUNDED BEAR


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