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Death of a 33-year-old man maced, tied & beaten by tribal cops in a drunk tank has the Lakota demanding action!

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Lakota Indians and especially the people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST), want some answers and action on the death of a young Cheyenne Indian man who was allegedly maced, handcuffed, and hog-tied. Then he was allegedly beaten to death in a jail cell by tribal law enforcement.

According to a change.org petition: We the United Urban Warrior Society hosted a rally for the family (of Phillip High Bear) on 10/19/2015. Phillip's mother and I were asked to meet with "Larry Lebeau" acting Chief of Police. After hearing that the officers involved were not suspended until after the FBI Investigation bothered me! We ask that these officers be suspended! A.S.A.P.! - We will not settle for anything less. We will rally again if necessary. ~ James Swan, leader of the United Urban Warrior Society

There are varied accounts of police and police administrators of this tribal law-enforcement CRST headquarters being fired after the FBI became involved. Some reports name officers and top brass that have resigned, but conflicting reports leave things up in the air. To say the fallout from Mr. High Bear's death has been nebulous is an understatement. It sounds more like the "he said, she said" talk before and after a Powwow. And it's typical aftereffect of a police cover-up.

Phillip High Bear, of Eagle Butte, S.D., was arrested on Sept. 15, 2015, for being intoxicated and was subsequently thrown into the drunk tank, where inmates sleep on cement floors without mattresses and bedding. According to James Magaska Swan, leader of the United Urban Warrior Society, the FBI is investigating this case and it is in limbo. Swan talked about High Bear's murder with this writer on Monday, Jan. 19, and was distressed and angry that nothing has been done by federal law enforcement concerning Mr. High Bear's death for such a trivial crime as being found inebriated by Tribal Law Enforcement.

Phillip High Bear was brutally murdered in the drunk tank of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's jail last September.
Phillip High Bear was brutally murdered in the drunk tank of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's jail last September.
(Image by James Magaska Swan)
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It's a repeated story these days. Do people of color like Native Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics have any rights whatsoever? Especially the young men of these races? There have been so many police-initiated deaths of these young men that a thick Rolodex is now required just to keep the names of these dead victims, most of which, like Mr. High Bear, committed petty criminal offenses and suffered unspeakable horrors before the Angel of Death came to the rescue.

Have these poor kids just become targets for the police to practice killing maneuvers upon? Are they mere practice dummies for the big, bad, brawny cops to enjoy plying sadistic torture?

A little more than a month ago on OpEdNews.com, a story I wrote was headlined on the front page concerning 26-year-old San Francisco resident Mario Woods, who was walking down a sidewalk during the afternoon of Dec. 3, 2015. A baker's dozen of San Francisco police officers opened fire on Woods in a firing-squad execution. Extreme action for a little guy who was only carrying a small knife. In Woods' case, Mace or Tasering wasn't even considered. Jump immediately to the ultimate sanction and fire a cannonade of high-caliber bullets at the poor fellow.

According to Swan and the few media reports that have been published, High Bear's execution was just as grisly, unnecessary and ridiculous as the firing-squad fusillade of lead fired into San Francisco resident Mario Woods. Woods, a young African-American man, seemed rather harmless and probably couldn't hurt a fly. Watch the video and judge for yourself. Wasn't there another way to get that little knife out of his hand?

Meantime, back in South Dakota, according to Swan: "We have reports from other inmates in that cell who were yelling at the cops, 'Leave him alone! Leave him alone!'' - and the police just yelled at them, 'Shut the f*cK up or we'll do the same to you!'"

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Samuel Vargo worked as a full-time reporter and editor for more than 20 years at a number of daily newspapers and business journals. He was also an adjunct English professor at colleges and universities in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi (more...)

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