On Police and Stolen Native Lives: A Lakota Mother Speaks
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On July 12, 2015, Paul Castaway was shot and killed by Denver police while holding a knife to his own throat. The police initially claimed that Castaway, a mentally ill Indigenous man, had charged at them with a knife after stabbing his own mother in the neck. Surveillance footage would later contradict those claims and support the accounts of Castaway’s family and other witnesses, who have maintained that Castaway menaced no one but himself with the knife in his hand, and never charged police.
Police later amended their version of events, acknowledging that Castaway never attacked his mother.
Castaway’s death, the dishonesty of officials and the local prosecutor’s refusal to press charges are not, in and of themselves, extraordinary circumstances. Native people in the United States are statistically more likely to be killed by police than people of any other ethnic group, and mentally ill people are frequently on the receiving end of police violence. The refusal of the Denver district attorney’s office to press charges against police accused of an unlawful shooting – a tradition that the city has upheld since 1993 – is also a common occurrence in the United States. But in Castaway’s case, something unusual did occur: a surge of public awareness.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.truth-out.org