[WATCH] Yankton Sioux Tribe Decries ‘Excessive Force’ Against Elder by Wagner Police Department

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating an incident outside a Wagner nursing home after an excessive force claim from the family of a Yankton Sioux Tribal member who had rushed there to see his dying mother.

The tribe’s elected government released a statement Tuesday condemning the use of physical force and a Taser to subdue 64-year-old Ray Cournoyer Sr. early Sunday morning, a tribal elder whose family posted graphic photos of the incident’s aftermath on Facebook.

The tribe’s release says Eli Kuhlman, a recently hired and uncertified officer with the Wagner Police Department, forced the U.S. Army veteran to the ground after he had told them he needed to see his mother, who died that morning.

The photos from his daughter’s Facebook post, which has been shared 7,000 times on Facebook, “show the physical aftermath of Officer Kuhlman’s use of force upon Mr. Cournoyer.”

“While there are still many unknowns, the pictures speak for themselves. It is unacceptable for anyone, much less an elder, to be deprived of their rights at the hand of law enforcement, and be treated with such force that they are bloodied, bruised and injured,” said Yankton Sioux Tribal Chairman Robert Flying Hawk.

The Wagner Police Department referred questions to the city attorney, who said he had yet to see any reports on the incident.

Ken Cotton, the city attorney, confirmed that Kuhlman had been with the six-person department less than a year and that he’d yet to be certified. Officers have a year after their hire date to complete law enforcement certification.

Cotton also confirmed that Wagner Police Chief Tim Simonsen had requested that the incident be looked at by the state Division of Criminal Investigation.

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