Judge dismisses Pine Ridge police brutality lawsuit

Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 4-08

A judge dismissed a police brutality lawsuit filed by a 70-year-old American Indian man after agreeing with prosecutors that it doesn’t belong in federal court.

Frank Sioux Bob of Pine Ridge said in his civil complaint that on July 21, 2005, he was at home with his grandchildren when officers entered the house and indicated they were responding to a call about a gun.

There was no weapon in the house, no one in the place had made such a report and the officers entered without a warrant or consent and roughed him up, the lawsuit states.

The officers were employed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Public Safety Commission but the defendant in the case is the United States government.

In March 2006, Sioux Bob filed a claim for a $350,000 settlement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs but no action was taken, so he took the case to court to seek damages.

U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley argued in court documents that the case should be dismissed because tribal officers are not authorized to enforce federal law so the case should be in tribal court.

Sioux Bob’s lawyer, Terry Pechota, countered that the lawsuit does belong in federal court and a decision should not be made until a hearing is held and the defense receives more evidence.

U.S. District Judge Richard Battey disagreed and filed an order dismissing the case, citing a lack of jurisdiction.