Video has emerged of a Munderson, South Dakota police encounter that occurred August 15.
Oglala Sioux Tribal Police Officer Becky Sotherland, 32, was recorded repeatedly tasing and screaming at an unresponsive man to get into her vehicle as he lie on the ground handcuffed.
The video begins with a woman saying, “This is the thirteenth time tasing him.” Another bystander states, “We’ve been watching him for about a half hour.” Obviously distressed, the woman says, “Oh my god… poor guy.” The other chimes in, “He probably can’t get in because she tased him so much.”
Officer Sotherland can be heard on the video telling the incapacitated man, “It’s gonna get you again!” You then hear the cracking of 50,000 volts of electrical current being discharged into the man. She then yells, “There it is!!”
Sotherland continues screaming, “Hurry up! Get in the car before it hits you again! Hurry up!” The electrical shocks continue as the she keeps commanding the man to, “Get up and get in the car or it’s gonna get you again.”
You can hear the man screaming in pain as he lie on the ground being shocked with electricity. Never during the encounter did the man make any aggressive moves. Throughout the incident he simply lays on the ground writhing in pain screaming as he is being shocked.
Finally in disgust the bystanders yell at the cop, “Let him go, quit tasing him! Just help him up! Just stop tasing him and help him up. One of these boys will help you.”
Sotherland responds, “You guys gonna help him up?” The onlooker says, “Yeah,” and at this point a gentleman can be heard saying, “I dunno, I don’t trust her myself,” referring to the cop after seeing what she has just done to the man on the ground.
A number of bystanders do finally go over to assist the man into the police cruiser.
Watch (Viewer discretion advised):
The man, whose name police have not released was arrested on “suspicion of disorderly conduct,” trespassing, and resisting an officer. He was placed in Pine Ridge jail Monday afternoon, where he has remained.
Ron Duke, chief of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Department of Public Safety, excused Sotherland’s actions by saying she was trying to get the man “to wake up and stand up.” The man, Duke said, was “lying on the ground, probably passed out, clearly intoxicated.”
Sotherland, who is from Hot Springs, has never received a complaint during her 2 1/2 year career as a police officer, Duke said.
An expert in Tasers, said obviously, that shocking someone is exactly the wrong way to get someone who is unconscious or lying down to stand up and respond to orders.
“You can’t resist if you’re unconscious,” said Chuck Drago, of Oviedo, Fla., who has 35 years of experience in law enforcement. “If the person is not resisting, there is absolutely no reason for force.”
Both the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are investigating the incident. Kyle Loven, chief division counsel for the FBI Division in Minneapolis, said the FBI is doing its own investigation, not a joint investigation with the BIA.
Police State Daily requests for comment were not returned.