Several members of Rapid City's Native American community are coming together to form a new organization aimed at improving race relations.
The move follows a police shooting last month involving Allen Locke, a Native American man in Lakota homes. The shooting occurred about 24-hours after Locke attended a rally against police brutality.
Chase Iron Eyes is an attorney and founder of the media group Last Real Indians. He says the accounts of the family members differ from the reports coming out from law enforcement. Police officials say Locke charged an officer with a knife. State officials are now completing an official investigation.
"It’s a sad state of affairs because the Native Community already considers it somewhat of a forgone conclusion that they are going to determine that it is justified. And we need to be ready for that because we expect protests, we expect rallies, we expect messaging, the Native voice needs to be heard here. And, it needs to be heard in a civil responsible manner because we have a right to a dignified existence here," says Iron Eyes.
Iron Eyes worries the incident adds to a longstanding Native American mistrust in the criminal justice system. The Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris says maintaining public trust is vital. He says he is willing and open to work with members of the Native American Community to find positive solutions to their concerns.
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