CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : POLICE BRUTALITY : POLICE MISCONDUCT: BLATENT DECEPTION : UNITED STATES: STATES: COLORADO : MENTAL ILLNESS: Protesters Question Denver Police Killing of Mentally Ill Native American

David P. Dillard
 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE :

POLICE BRUTALITY :

POLICE MISCONDUCT: BLATENT DECEPTION :

UNITED STATES: STATES: COLORADO :

MENTAL ILLNESS:

Protesters Question Denver Police Killing of Mentally Ill Native American

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Protesters Question Denver Police Killing of Mentally Ill Native American

Death of Paul Castaway reflects that American Indians are most likely racial group to be killed by law enforcement

July 22, 2015 5:00AM ET

by Tristan Ahtone

Aljazeera

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/7/22/ denver-police-shoot-mentally-ill-native-american.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/pn4fs7r

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DENVER She knew her son was dead when she heard the gunshots. At least four staccato pops in a matter of seconds. Four bullets fired in the same amount of time needed to open a bottle of soda or to steal a kiss.

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I told [the police] that my son was mentally ill, I tell them that every time I call, said Lynn Eagle Feather. I just asked for help. Instead they killed my son.

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Her son, Paul Castaway, was a Rosebud Sioux tribal citizen who had battled mental illness, drugs and alcohol for years. He had a criminal record including felony weapon possession, assault and DUI and served time. In the past, Eagle Feather could talk him down when he was in crisis; before, when the police were called for help, he was peaceful. This time was different.

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He pulled out a knife and he tried to scare me. I know he was just trying to scare me with it, she said. He was hitting himself on the head and he was like in a psychotic mode. I had never saw him like that before and I was scared.

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On the night Castaway died, police say that he stabbed his mother in the neck. Eagle Feather says her son held a knife to her throat, leaving a small nick. Regardless, thats not up for debate. What is being questioned is why he was shot and killed.

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Police contend that Castaway got dangerously close to officers with a knife, causing them to open fire. But according to eyewitnesses, Castaway was holding the blade to his own throat moments before he was gunned down. That version of events may actually have been recorded. Footage from nearby surveillance cameras is now in the hands of the Denver Police Department.

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I actually saw the surveillance video that shows the shooting, reported Tammy Vigil, a local reporter for Fox 31 Denver who saw the video shortly after the shooting. [You see Paul Castaway] with the knife to his own neck the whole time. Then police shoot him.

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According to a Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice analysis of Centers for Disease Control data, between 1999 and 2011 Native Americans were killed by police at a higher rate than any other racial group in the country. In other words, if the Seattle metro area home to just over 4 million people were made up entirely of American Indians, around 10 people would have been shot and killed by police every year between 1999 and 2011.

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snip

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According to Lane, this case is more than a question of police tactics: Its about mindset.

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The police, they are like a colonial occupying force in these communities, he said. They are not there to serve and protect, they are there to occupy these communities, and that mentality is why people like Paul Castaway get killed.

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I will never be able to hug my son, Ill never be able to wake up and say good morning, said Eagle Feather. He was the closest one to me, of my children, because he had problems and I could understand him more than anybody.

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Vigils have been held every night in the mobile home park where Castaway was shot and killed, while Eagle Feather struggles to make sense of her loss.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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