Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shonto Pete

Shonto Pete, originally uploaded by sulustumoses.

Shonto Speaks, originally uploaded by sulustumoses.

Shonto Pete spoke to the media on Friday to address the issue of police misconduct in Spokane. Because of personal experience, Shonto knows this issue better than most anyone.

To summarize briefly, Shonto Pete was shot in the head by Jay Olsen, an off-duty police officer, after Olsen accused him of trying to steal his vehicle. The officer was intoxicated and chased Shonto into Peaceful Valley, near downtown Spokane. He shot Shonto in the back of the head as he fled. Miraculously, Shonto survived. In court proceedings that followed, Shonto was found not guilty of attempted theft, but then the officer was also found not guilty of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. The officer resigned the police force, but his not guilty verdict provoked a wave of outrage and protest from the Native American community.

For a list of Spokesman-Review articles on this subject click HERE.

After this and related incidents, Shonto Pete is demanding greater accountability from the local police department.

On a personal note, I've known Shonto for the last several years after he attended Moses Family gatherings on the Spokane Reservation.

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