Alaskan Tribal leaders in Bethel are addressing police brutality allegations against indigenous Alaska Natives.
The Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC) is urging people to come forward regarding such allegations.
In a press release, ONC president Gloria Simeon says the council is very disturbed by recent allegations of brutality by a City of Bethel Police Officer towards an inebriated “Indian” male.
A complaint was filed against a police officer by a woman visiting the town who said she saw the officer repeatedly pick up a man and slam to the ground July 12.
Simeon says the problem, she believes, is instability with the city administration.
“Going on what four, four city mangers, it’s been hard to set up meetings to deal directly with these problems and we’re hoping that by taking this action and making a press release that we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior and this, um, fear within the community of the Bethel Police Department and people that are in law enforcement that this must be addressed,” said Simeon.Simeon says ONC’s Tribal Council met with the city of Bethel’s Acting City Manager, Greg Moyer and Police Chief Andre Achee during their regular monthly meeting on August 6th. They discussed allegations of police brutality made by
Linda Green through a letter to the editor of the Delta Discovery Newspaper on July 23rd. Simeon says the ONC Tribal Council has concerns about how the police are treating these categories of people:
“The stereotypical Native male who is targeted by authority figures. It seems to be a problem not only here but in other areas. Women alone at night on the streets are also very vulnerable. And of course, people who are inebriated and do not have control of their faculties are certainly the most vulnerable and those are the people that we need to protect,” said Simeon.
Simeon says ONC hopes to work with the Bethel City Council to improve the relationship of police with the community and ensure basic human rights of Natives are not being violated.
After the complaint was filed, city officials said they were investigating.