This footage shows a Native American man apparently resisting arrest with the police officers then shooting his dog when it tries to protect him, and tasering the suspect in California.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office has since released the bodycam footage of both of the officers involved in the incident in response to widespread outrage online at how the situation was handled.
The man has been named as George Barlow III, 32. Police officers went to the scene after receiving a call about a violated restraining order.
The person who called could not be found by the responding police officers, who saw Barlow shouting outside a gas station that was closed, on the Bishop Paiute Reservation. It has been alleged that he was not the suspect they were looking for, but that he “fit the description”.
The Bishop Paiute Reservation is where the Bishop Palute Tribe live. There are between 1,100 and 1,600 members of the federally recognised tribe left.
The footage shows officers approaching the man. He then suddenly runs towards them, with one of the officers ordering him to stop or be tasered. The man refuses to stop and so the officers use tasers.
The suspect repeatedly refused to obey orders to remain on the ground and cooperate with the arresting officers.
His dog also attempted to protect him from the police, resulting in one officer firing one shot at the dog, killing it. It was reportedly a pit bull.
The suspect has since been hospitalised in intensive care on life-support, according to local reports.
The sheriff’s office released the bodycam footage after at least two eyewitnesses filmed the incident and shared the footage on social media. It shows Barlow falling to the ground after being tasered, where he is repeatedly kicked and punched by the two deputies.
According to the police, Barlow grabbed one of the officers police batons, only letting go of it when they pepper sprayed him.
One of the officers decided to return to their police vehicle, from which they released a canine that they then used to subdue their suspect.
In a press statement released Tuesday (26th July), the sheriff’s office emphasised that “a complete and thorough investigation will be conducted on use of force” regarding the incident that took place in the city of Bishop, in eastern California, near the Nevada border.
The sheriff’s office, which is headed up by Sheriff Jeff Hollowell, added that it would be conducting a criminal investigation into the actions of its deputies “to objectively evaluate the use of force by the deputies, and to ensure that their authority was used lawfully.”
Sheriff Hollowell said: “In order to provide total transparency, we want the people we serve to have as much information as possible when we have a critical incident, even before the investigation is complete and the facts fully known.”
The sheriff has also reportedly met with the Bishop Paiute tribal council, “to field questions and quell rumors. We value our relationship with our local tribes and look forward to continued years of partnership,” according to the sheriff office’s public information officer Carma Roper.
A fundraising campaign has been set up to support the man and his family (https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-george-barlow-and-family).
Part of the fundraising post, which is has a subheader reading “police brutality”, reads: “I absolutely hate to share this but my heart is broken for my cousin, his family, and our community. My cousin George ‘fit the description’ and because of that he is in the hospital on life-support and his dog is dead. He was not the person in question.”
The fundraising post also said “Law enforcement in Payahuunadu (the Owens Valley) has a history of brutalising Native citizens and we receive little to no justice.”
The fundraiser, which was created just two days ago, has already raised over USD 24,000 of the USD 50,000 goal.