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Park Service investigating after video emerges of ranger tasing Native American man

Park Service investigating after video emerges of ranger tasing Native American man
© Instagram

The National Park Service (NPS) said it's investigating after footage recently went viral showing a park ranger using a stun gun on a Native American man who went off trail while at a national monument in New Mexico.

In an Instagram post this week, the man, identified by NBC News as Darrell House, said he had visited the Petroglyph National Monument recently to "pray and speak" to his "Pueblo Ancestor relatives." House said he is Navajo and Oneida but that he honors the land. 

House, who says he was with his sister and dog, said he had briefly gone off the trail to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, according NBC News. That's when he was confronted by a park ranger, House said.

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NPS on Tuesday night released footage of the interaction captured by the officer's body camera.

In the footage, the officer is seen asking House and his sister for identification. House responds by saying he doesn’t want to identify himself. Later in the footage, House and his sister could be seen providing the officer with what NPS later said were “fake names and dates of birth.”

“You don’t need my identification sir,” House tells the ranger at one point.

“So, this is a law enforcement action and I do need to identify you, sir,” the ranger responds.

“Native Americans and the government and law don’t mesh well, you know that. We’ve had our differences before … You’re on our land,” House replies. 

Later in the footage, House could be seen walking away before saying that they were back on the trail.

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The situation then escalates after the ranger warns House that he would be detained until he can identify him. 

He then tells House to give his sister his dog. House refuses and picks up the dog. Moments later, the ranger uses a stun gun on House after House yells for help.

The ranger could be seen repeatedly using the device on House in the clip, telling him to show his hands. At times, House can be seen with his hands up, screaming on the ground.

Afterward, the ranger attempts to put handcuffs on House. Another ranger eventually places House in handcuffs later in the clip after the man walks away from the first officer and calls for help.

House said on social media that the interaction amounted to an abuse of power by the first ranger and said the incident was “uncalled for.”

“Both men pulled tasers on me after the first 1 couldn’t keep me down. This could have been a civil interaction. The law doesn’t work for the Indigenous,” he wrote on Instagram.

 

House received citations for being in a closed area off trail at the monument, providing false information and failing to comply with a lawful order, the park agency said Tuesday night. His sister also received citations for providing false information and being in a closed area off trail. 

An NPS spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that the incident “is under review and has been referred to the NPS Office of Professional Responsibility, our internal affairs unit, for a thorough investigation.”

She added that NPS law enforcement officers “complete extensive law enforcement training programs along with many other Federal law enforcement agencies” and are “required to undergo initial and ongoing specialized training to carry” stun guns.

“We take any allegation of wrongdoing very seriously, and appreciate the public’s patience as we gather the facts of this incident,” she also said.

Updated at 11:40 p.m.