Daniel Covarrubias, Christina Tahhahwah, Loreal Tsingine, Rexdale Henry.
These names, along with many others, are probably unfamiliar to most people in the United States, but they were all Native Americans who were killed by law enforcement.
As reported by In these times, Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 47 states between 1999 and 2011 found that Native Americans were even more likely than African Americans to be killed at the hands of law enforcement.
CDC data from 1999 to 2014 found the group to be more than three times more likely to be killed than white Americans.
Media coverage in the United States is scarce. There were 29 Native Americans killed between May 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015, but only one death received significant coverage in the circle of America’s top 10 newspapers. It was Paul Castaway, a Sioux from Rosebud from Denver who was gunned down after threatening to kill himself. Another man has been wrongly defined as Latino.
27 of these deaths received no coverage.
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Native Americans, like African Americans, are more likely to experience discrimination and be treated like second-class citizens. They are also more likely to be harassed or denied service in restaurants, to be wrongly fined and forced to work to pay off their “debt.” There is also evidence of police refusal to investigate the murders, echoing civil rights struggles in the deep south decades ago.
Experts also pointed out a lack of mental health services for Native Americans. A quarter of all those killed by police in the first three months of 2016 suffered from mental health issues or had threatened to kill themselves, which represented about half of Native American deaths.
Native Lives Matter, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, began in late 2014 and aims to shine a light on the oppression and injustice faced by Native Americans, and spread its message on Facebook and Twitter.
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In Tacoma, Washington, residents were horrified to learn of the death of a Native American woman, 32-year-old Jacqueline Salyers of the Puyallup tribe, on January 28.
Salyers, who was pregnant, sat behind the wheel of a parked car while her boyfriend – wanted criminal Kenneth Wright – was in the passenger seat. She was shot in the head by police and Wright climbed onto her body, armed with a rifle, and escaped.
The shooting was deemed “justified” as police claimed Salyers attempted to run them over, but his family disputed the account. There was no video footage to verify the police claims.
Townspeople now come together to support each other, seek justice for Salyers, and share their experiences of police brutality.
“Everyone is welcome [at the meeting]said Silvia Sabon, a tribal woman whose Latino family friend Oscar Perez-Giron was killed by police because of a bus ticket. “It doesn’t matter your color. We’re all living the same thing. “
James Rideout, member of the Justice For Jackie group, said Democracy now !, “Jacqueline Salyers was a very, very loving, caring and caring person who did not deserve to die.”