Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's time to move LNI out of Rapid City

A police department known to be 'a bunch of racists' recently passed over a person of color for a leadership position and upheld its history of white supremacy.
Rapid City’s police chief has denied a permit request for a “police brutality awareness walk” that was planned for Friday. In a news release, the department said Chief Karl Jegeris decided against approval because of the timing coinciding with the Lakota Nation Invitational, a sporting event that is expected to draw 2,500 youths and their families to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
When Garrison Keillor opened A Prairie Home Campanion in the Rapid City Civic Center Theatre on November 20, 1999 he cited a statistic that Pennington County has the highest per capita gun ownership in the United States. A nervous chuckle rolled through the audience.

The number of experiences that i have had in gun and pawn shops in Rapid City that have taken me aback are too numerous to count. Two are vivid: a fifteen year old with mother in tow pointing at a Glock in a case saying: "that one" and a man buying five AK-47s with cash.
Christopher J. Capps, 22, who died of multiple gunshot wounds on Sunday night at Rapid City Regional Hospital, had been accepted by the University of South Dakota – Vermillion. Described as a “very outgoing” young man, Capps was well known around the neighborhood where was shot in a hail of bullets that may have ranged as high as five or six shots from Sheriff Department deputy David Olson, a nearly five-year veteran of the department. [Native Times]
The people involved in this skirmish are not the first casualties of this war; nor are they the last.
Most, and we do mean most, Native Americans believe that the Rapid City Police and Pennington County Sheriffs still profile Indians in traffic stops and in other arrests. Profiling means looking at people of a different race much more closely than at people of the white race. This means stopping them more frequently for traffic violations real or imagined or just for being an Indian walking down Main Street and looking suspicious.
Every time we see that the police department has hired a bunch of new officers and their pictures are published in the local daily, all the Indian community sees are a bunch of new, white faces. And we wonder why there are no Indians represented in the new hires. Whose fault is that? Who does the hiring?
It’s like the situation in Ferguson, Missouri where the community is almost 60 percent black and yet of the 53 police officers on the force only 3 are African American. So look at the mess that city is in now and it is not beyond imagination that the same thing could happen in Rapid City given the right or wrong set of circumstances. The writing is on the wall and it is high time that the Rapid City Police Department wake up and smell the coffee. Forewarned is forearmed and we don’t want to be the ones to say “I told you so” should violence erupt between the Indian community and the Rapid City Police Department. [excerpt, Tim Giago, posted at Indianz]
Here is another look at Rapid City's failure to serve and protect: Racist City, SD, (Rapid City), Where Life is Violent, and Often Deadly.

Black Hills State University is aptly suited to host LNI: Rapid City has blown it.


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