Earlier this month, a 24-year-old Native American, Lakota woman named Sarah Lee Circle Bear was found dead in a jail cell after a minor arrest.
Sarah was from Clairmont, South Dakota, and was jailed on a bond violation at the Brown County Jail in Aberdeen.
Back on Sunday, July 6th, Sarah was found unresponsive in a jail cell, following her arrest. But unlike Sandra Bland and others, the police are not saying that she committed suicide.
Local KELO, says that she was taken to a nearby hospital and died later that day, but witnesses say if police would have been doing their jobs, she never would have died.
According to those witnesses, Circle Bear was transferred to the holding cell and shortly thereafter told guards that she was experiencing severe pain.
But witnesses say that deputies told her to “quit faking” and yelled at her to “knock it off” before finally dragging her to the cell where she spend the last moments of her life.
Sarah Sunshine Manning, with Indian Country Today, reports, “I recently learned about Sarah Lee Circle Bear while attending a family ceremonial gathering. A relative set out a memorial chair for Sarah, a tradition of the Dakota and Lakota people. Sarah’s story was shared, and the circle prayed for her and her family for four days.”
Manning adds that, “When any person is taken into custody and under the care of law enforcement, it is their right to receive appropriate medical attention and just treatment. This does not appear to be the case with Sarah Lee Circle Bear, and in the state of South Dakota where Native Americans are the largest minority and hate crimes are reported at high levels, it is time to demand a thorough investigation into her neglect and her death. It is time to demand better treatment of native women, and justice for Sarah.”
(Article by M. David)