AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL
November 29, 2005
AIM RED ALERT: WORSE CASE OF PROFILING SINCE SEGREGATION
VERMILLION, SD—Nov. 28, 2005—In a need to be more sensitive people of color, Native American students, faculty, and staff from the University of South Dakota are urging the Vermillion Police Department to undergo cultural sensitivity training after rounding up more than 40 Native American males and bringing them in for questioning in recent attempted rape case.
“What we’re trying to do is promote understanding,” said Cori Bazemore, a Seneca Iroquois USD student and president of Tiospaye U., Native American Student Association. “We’re trying to expose the magnitude of racism that is going on here amonst the community and the police, and find a way to resolve those issues.”
Vermillion police are searching for a person described as an American Indian male who allegedly broke into a woman’s trailer and attempted to rape her on Nov. 7. Officers have canvassed the USD campus and the Town of Vermillion with a description and sketch of the suspect, who is also described as having a buzz cut and glasses.
“It could have been anybody,” said Jamie Burnette, 23, who was pulled from his job at one of the USD dorms during the weekend and taken into the police department for extensive questioning. “I don’t feel comfortable around cops or anybody now because I don’t want them to question me just because I look like that picture. It’s unfair because they are singling out Native Americans.”
The students will have a news conference on Dec. 1 in Lakotah Dinning Hall at USD at 7:45PM. Clyde Bellecourt, Dennis Banks and Robbie Romero of the American Indian Movement (AIM) will all speak at the news conference.
“This is the worse case of racial profiling on Native Americans I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s a national day of shame,” said Dennis Banks, “AIM is putting on a red alert accompanied by attorneys and news people.” Adding that it goes back to the 1950s when white police would arrest random African Americans for crimes allegedly committed.
Many agree that this isn’t the first incident of racial profiling in Vermillion, rather that there is a long history of it here, and it is time to put it to an end.
WHO: USD Native American students
WHAT: News conference on racial profiling
WHEN: Thursday, December 1st at 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Lakotah Dinning Hall, University of South Dakota
INFORMATION: Cori Bazemore, 605-720-2060, firstname.lastname@example.org