« きっとブッシュはネイティブ・アメリカンが大嫌いなのだ | Main | あれからがおもしろくなったというのに、ねえ »

Sunday, September 25, 2005

ジェイ・スポッテッド・エルクの死

サウス・ダコタ州ローズバッド生まれのラコタ族の青年ジェイ・スポッテッド・エルクが警察の留置場で首をつって自殺したとされるのは今年の7月16日のことだった。彼は友人と別れた足でガールフレンドの家に向かって歩いていたところを、警察につかまえられて連行された。以前スピード違反をしてそのときの召喚状を無視したというのが逮捕の理由だった。普通ならば一週間ほどの拘留で解放される程度のものだったが、ジェイはその日のうちに留置場で命を落としてしまう。明るくて陽気な青年にしてはあまりにも早すぎる死だったといわざるをえない。さまざまな人種からなる学校の同級生たちから慕われ愛されていた彼。母親に「生まれて初めて恋をした」と打ち明けた直後の彼の突然の死が、ほんとうに自殺なのだろうか?

以下は彼の死に疑問を感じた彼の友人の女性がメディアに配ったプレスリリースである。アメリカ・インディアンの人たちの死は、アメリカにおいて、他のどんな人種の人たちの死よりも常に軽く扱われてきた。インディアンの人たちは、絶望していると言っていい。彼らは先住民であるがゆえに、21世紀になって5年が過ぎた今でもなお虫けらのように扱われ、命を落とすことがある。留置されるにあたって、イアリング、バンダナ、靴をわざわざ没収した警察がなぜベルトは取りあげずにいたのか? 同じ留置場で別の房に入っていた人間は、ひどく虐待されていたことを証言したが、誰にも見えないところでなにが行われたのか真実は闇のなかだ。わずか15分後には彼が死んでいることが発見された。

こうした事件は、アメリカ・インディァンの世界ではほとんど日常的に起こっていることだと言って言い。そしてこうした現実についてはメディアはほとんど報道しない。まるでインディアンなんか見たくないとマジョリティは考えているかのようである。豊かな国のなかにある第三世界の今に、すこしでも関心がある御方は、以下の英文のプレスリリースをお読みになるといい。かつてローリング・サンダーが「コロンブスが来たときにはじまった戦争は終わっていない」といったそのことの意味、ジェノサイド(大量虐殺)が今も続いているのだということを、この報告はあらためて教えてくれている。

Beadline.jpg

PRESS RELEASE:

There are many unanswered questions surrounding the death of Jay Spotted Elk, who died by hanging on July 16, 2005. Jay is a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe from Rosebud, South Dakota. He had just left friends and was walking to his girlfriends house. While walking, he was picked up by the police on an old speeding warrant, which would have resulted in no more than weekend in jail. How is it that within minutes of being in that jail cell, Jay was dead? It was almost too quick for suicide, especially for a bright and happy young man, well respected and liked by his peers of all races, who had just told his mother he was in love for the first time in his life.

When the police brought him in, he was in a cheerful mood. There had been no cause for the police to treat him in a violent manner; whatever happened to Jay appears solely to have been the result of the maliciousness of a racist police force.

Jay had spent his evening with friends in Rushville, Nebraska. He and his family were packed and ready to move back to South Dakota the very next morning. Although at this point, the autopsy report has not been reviewed by Spotted Elk’s family’s attorney, from the Abourezk and Zephier Law Firm of Rapid City, SD, reports from those who were with him refute that he had been drinking. However, Jay was placed in the “drunk tank,” a cell that is isolated from other inmates. As he entered, he greeted the inmates in a friendly fashion and for some reason, was put into the cell that is usually reserved for those who are creating major disturbances.

The police removed his earring, his bandana, and his shoes yet somehow neglected to take his belt and they placed him in the cell. Then, according to those who were at the jail, he was mistreated so badly he threatened suicide, which in itself seems strange. Whatever they did to him was out of view of others, but was loud enough for them to know he was being tormented. Supposedly, he was then left alone, and when the jailor returned approximately ten to fifteen minutes later, Jay was dead. The jailor alleges that Jay had only been alone for about twenty minutes and he began CPR. Why then did they reportedly wait 45 minutes to call an ambulance?

It would seem that the police have provided the public with a nice pat story that is distressingly belied by evidence and there is another possibility must be considered. Is it possible that once Jay threatened to kill himself, the police had an alibi to kill him? A woman who viewed the body in a professional context and has worked with people who had died by hanging, and particularly suicide, attests that this looked different, that Jay’s arms were badly bruised and scratched. When asked if it looked as if those bruises and scratches might have indicated that he struggled to get away, her reply was yes.

The police have so far refused to return Jay’s personal belongings to his mother and are still being held as evidence. But the only evidence his clothing could possibly show would be evidence against the police.

The scratches and bruises were not the extent of Jay’s suspicious wounds, and one in particular is the most disturbing of all. There was a demarcation on the side of Jay’s head, a dent, and his eye looked as if it had been crushed or caved in. But there was no bruise. When asked how this might be possible, one source stated that the only way this could have occurred was after he was already dead. It appears that they hit him hard in the head, even after he had already died.

No one has yet seen the contents of the autopsy report, it is still unknown what Jay’s blood alcohol content was. But if he had only had one beer why was he placed in the drunk tank isolated from view of the other in-mates? There are too many witnesses that agree his behavior was not belligerent. Why did they beat him to the point of suicide, if in fact that happened? Or was he killed by his captors for the color of his skin? These are certainly questions that need to be answered and these wrongdoers must be tried for their inhumane deeds before the eyes of the nation.

Rushville is a town that is known by the local Lakota Sioux tribes as a place that features racial profiling as a specialty and incidents of uninvestigated deaths of Indians in Nebraska border towns of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations are not uncommon incidents. In fact, there is another lawsuit pending of the wrongful death of an Indian man which took place three years ago. So, it was quick thinking by that same police force to hold Grand Jury proceedings so quickly following Jay’s death, which prevented any further investigation.

At the Grand Jury proceedings, Arlie, Jay’s mother, sat outside on the steps and watched as members of the police community entered the courtroom. At this time, it appears that there were no witnesses called that may have offered adverse testimony to the police version, nor any witnesses called to speak on behalf of Jay, or as to the treatment he reportedly received at the hands of overzealous and seemingly malicious officials.

Did the law enforcement officials really believe or stand by their testimony that they had forgotten to take Jay's belt from him that night, and if that were indeed true, shouldn’t those same officials be held accountable for the violence that allegedly occurred at the jail?

The Grand Jury resulted in no criminal charges being filed against anyone. However, those proceedings are secret and not shared with the general public, and as of yet, the government has not agreed to open up the record of those proceedings even though the need to know all of the full extent of the information and evidence is needed in order to examine and determine the truth so that the family and heirs can know what happened to Jay, and why.

Are the authorities frightened of the fully disclosed truth? If there is nothing to fear, why is his clothing still being held as evidence? The authorities should be more than willing to allow the family and estate of Jay to have timely and complete access to those materials without obstruction, delay or alteration.

Often, in cases of police brutality, police take the defensive position of filing suits against the abused.
But, since no criminal charges are now pending against anyone, including Jay (since he has passed), the barrier to learning the truth should not be hidden behind some proposed shield that the authorities may be using to avoid turning over the information that they have, including information which was developed during the recent grand jury proceeding. The light of day must shine on this tragedy, so as not to perpetuate the pain, suffering and grief of the surviving family including his mother, and the Native American community.

Allowing the perception of secrecy without disclosure can seem more devious because of its ability to stifle the grieving family from seeking justice and the truth. It seems clear to all involved that the authorities will need to decide very soon whether or not to turn over all investigatory materials to the family voluntarily, or to stand on some perceived defensive position such as demanding an order from a court. Although no formal court action presently exists requesting such an order, it would seem almost backwards if such an order is demanded. In essence, the authorities would actually be asking to be sued by creating the need to obtain such an order, simply to obtain the investigation materials that would reveal part of the story that needs to be told. It doesn't seem to make sense.

|

« きっとブッシュはネイティブ・アメリカンが大嫌いなのだ | Main | あれからがおもしろくなったというのに、ねえ »

Native News Update」カテゴリの記事

Comments

北山さんを迎えての六甲山ワークショップを終えて3日目、わたしは期せずして、シカゴ空港の留置所で一晩を過ごすことになった。10年以上前のオーバーステイが理由で入国を拒否され、Immgration Office の奥にしつらえられた留置所で拘束されたのだ。ロンドンの用件を終えてから、アリゾナ・ホピランドを訪ねる18日間の旅の予定だった。
それでも、これまで3回は入国していた。だから今回も・・・とすこしたかをくくっていたかもしれない。しかし、すこし頭をよぎっていた危惧ーシカゴで乗り換えてロンドンってやばいかなーが現実になってしまった。審査官はわたしのロンドン行きのチケットを見て、その場で即、refuse と宣告してきた・・・この国はパニくってる・・・
えんえんと7時間ほど待たされた挙句に連れて行かれた部屋は「留置所」だった。靴紐、パーカーのフードの紐まで抜けといわれる。着の身きのままで、なんにも部屋には持って入れない。身体検査で服を脱ぐように言われたが、
監視カメラの前では脱げない、と抗議。レストルームにはドアはなく、監視カメラの範囲だ。便器の脇につい立があるだけ。置いていかれた朝食のパックのフルーツポンチにもスプーンもフォークもついてはいないのだ・・・犯罪者扱いなのだ。
扉はがっちゃんと閉じられ、その時だけはすこし心細かったかな。拘束されたのだから。権力ってこういうことか、とはじめて知った気がした。
帰りの飛行機へも一般搭乗口からでななく、係官に連れられ通路をとおり、20人乗りぐらいの護送車に乗せられ、滑走路からタラップで直接搭乗口へ。与えられた席の横には誰も座らない。犯罪者の隣だからね。しかもパスポートは搭乗員にあづけさせられた・・・
10年以上も前のオーバーステイの記録が、ほんとうに、入国拒否の正当なる理由となり、両手の指紋と顔写真をとられ、ブラックリストに載ってしまうだけの充分な理由になるのだろうか。今後は、もし何かあったときには、わたしも犯罪容疑者としてあげられる理由に充分なりえるわけだ。世が世なら(今がそうか)
時が時で、場所が場所なら、身の安全を左右したかもしれない。その場で銃殺だってあり得るのだな・・・とそんなことを考えていた。
戻ってきてから友人たちに旅の顛末をメールで知らせた。北山さんは「今回の経験でインディアンの人たちの世界にさらに一歩近づいたのかもしれないね」と返信を送ってくれた。「そう思ってます」とわたしも返事した。
日本にいて、いくら自分はマイノリティなんだな、と思っていても、そのことでこれまでに差別されたり、侮蔑されたり、脅かされたことの経験もないわたし。いろいろと考えさせられた。
かつて、カリフォルニアのバークレーで、アーバンインディアンである友人宅に間借りしていた時、ことのほか図体のでかいビッグ・ジョンはつねづねわたしに言ったものだ。
「れいこ、自分たちが留守のときは絶対に鍵をかけておけ。暗くなったら、絶対一人で歩くなな。ここに住んでるインディアンの女で、レイプされたことないやつなんかいないんだからな」
ラコタのメディスンマンのかつての奥さんであったマリーは、自伝「ラコタ・ウーマン」の中でこう書いていたと記憶している・・・インディアンであり、かつ女性であるほと困難なことはない
・・・

わたしはいったいどこまで強くなれるだろうか。


初めて女性を愛したばかりのラコタの青年ジェイのスピリットに、こころから祈りをささげます。


Posted by: Hopiseed | Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 12:37 PM

Post a comment



(Not displayed with comment.)


Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.



TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://app.cocolog-nifty.com/t/trackback/25341/6116552

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ジェイ・スポッテッド・エルクの死:

« きっとブッシュはネイティブ・アメリカンが大嫌いなのだ | Main | あれからがおもしろくなったというのに、ねえ »