[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.

Highway Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan said only a trooper tried to make a traffic stop on Cournoyer, and referred questions about charges to the Charles Mix County State’s Attorney, Steve Cotton.

Later Tuesday, the highway patrol released the following statement:

“The South Dakota Highway Patrol has reviewed the actions of our trooper during this incident and the troopers actions were professional and within SDHP policy. The SDHP did not request the DCI investigation, but we have and will continue to fully cooperate with it.”

State’s Attorney Cotton did not return a call for comment Tuesday. DCI spokeswoman Sara Rabern confirmed that the agency was investigating.

Cournoyer said he was in shock and did not pull over for the trooper as he rushed to the Good Samaritan Center in Wagner just after midnight Sunday morning to see his 87-year-old mother.

He had spent most of the day with her and consulted with a Hospice nurse, but said she had been doing well and that he left at about 7 p.m. Saturday evening to return home to his family.

He wasn’t expecting to get a call from his sister telling him that he had better hurry to Wagner to say his goodbyes.

For the full story visit: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2017/09/19/yankton-sioux-tribe-decries-excessive-force-against-elder-wagner-police-department/683243001/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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