Don’t #NativeAmericanLivesMatter, too?
Over the past few weeks, the media has been lit up with news of African-American citizens, including Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, being killed under seemingly unjust circumstances by police. Since the incident, a Black Lives Matter protester killed five policemen in Dallas and various protests have sprung up across the nation.
While the tragedies are deserving of attention and have helped raise awareness about police brutality, the death of another innocent man has gone relatively unnoticed.
According to IndianCountryToday, an unarmed Native American named Corey Kanosh was given only seconds to react before police opened fire on him and took his life in 2012. He was suspected of stealing a car but had no chance to defend himself before police fired on him, who then later refused to give him medical attention.
Understandably, his untimely death has sparked massive controversy. The most tragic part of his story, however, is that the injustice has received relatively little media coverage. One must ponder why, especially since Native Americans are more likely to be killed than any other race, according to a Department of Justice report.
Don’t #NativeAmericanLivesMatter, too?
The 35-year-old Paiute man from Utah, who was shot by Millard County Deputy Dale Josse, was the unarmed passenger in a car driven by his friend Dana Harnes, who is white. The pair was chased in the dark before the officer called for backup – a decision which Attorney Todd McFarlane believes could have been what cost Kanosh his life.
According to McFarlane, the Native American was denied of his constitutional rights when Josse and other officers neglected to provide medical attention to him right after he was shot – similar to Philando Castile.
“The constitutional right to life includes the right to prompt medical attention, especially when law enforcement is responsible for jeopardizing that right to life,” McFarlane said.
The deceased laid on the ground, wounded, for over half an hour without any medical attention while police waited for orders. And, after he died, his body was left in the dirt until the following morning.
A Pahvant Post article states,
“Millard County Sheriff’s Office personnel delayed the EMTs from evaluating Corey, and then said that he was already dead, so there was no need to provide medical attention, and instructed the EMTs not to attempt to resuscitate.”
It’s been nearly four years since the incident, but Dana Harnes, the driver of the vehicle, can still recount the details of the evening. Reportedly, the duo had been drinking, listening to music, and driving, and was scared when the police car set after them, which is why they evaded arrest.
“The ground was all rocks and trees,” Harnes remembered. “I was running and fell, and I heard the cop talking to Corey, and then the ground disappeared beneath me and I ended up in a ravine. I came up on the other side and heard two guns shots, and then I heard Corey scream. Looking at the road, there were red and blue lights as far as the eye could see, and I wondered why they were after us. My flight for life kicked in and I took off and ran as far as I could go.”
Kanosh’s family and friends have petitioned for justice since the horrific event took place, but have had little luck raising enough money to move the legal process forward.
In the video below, it is explained:
“The hold up on progressing has been due to lack of money to fund the oh so dreaded legal process. We need your help. Please help us on our way to get this case back up and ready. It’s time to take on the unwilling non-cooperative Millard County Sheriffs Department.”
Activists have rallied for the Kanosh case through protests and a Justice For Corey Kanosh Facebook page. Musician Young Jibwe even dedicated the song “What’s Going On” to Kanosh, calling for answers to the violence against Natives.
Regarding the long-held racist attitudes in Salt Lake City, activist Victor Puertas said:
“You feel it, you experience it, most of the time it’s subtle. Utah is one of those states you don’t hear much about, but it is one place where police violence is happening. We want justice for the Kanosh family. They have been through a lot. There is a lot of tension between Natives and the police, who are almost all white.”
It doesn’t discount any person’s experience or right to a good life to state that all lives matter. Kanosh’s tragic death deserves attention, just like Castile’s and Sterling’s. If you agree, please share this news and comment your thoughts below!
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