Ray Cournoyer Sr., a 64-year-old citizen of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, is seen being subdued by police officers in Wagner, South Dakota. Photo: Philly Cournoyer
Law | National

Yankton Sioux Tribe blasts police officers for use of force against elderly citizen

An elderly citizen of the Yankton Sioux Tribe was hospitalized after being roughed up by police officers in Wagner, South Dakota.

Ray Cournoyer Sr., 64, was pursued by officers as he drove to a nursing home in the early morning hours on Sunday. He had rushed there to say goodbye to his dying mother.

When he declined to stop for the officers, he was tasered by one of them, his daughter said in a post on Facebook that has been shared more than 7,200 times. Photos show Cournoyer on the ground next to a police cruiser in front of the nursing home.

"There was absolutely no reason the for excessive force that was used against him. This is a case of assault by a police officer," Philly Cournoyer, wrote in the post, which also featured several photos of her father's injuries. "I was so shocked by what was happening in front of my own eyes."

The tribe condemned the police officers in a press release quoted in the local media. Chairman Robert Flying Hawk said Cournoyer was a veteran of the U.S. Army and a respected elder.

"While there are still many unknowns, the pictures speak for themselves," Flying Hawk said in the press release, according to the reports. "It is unacceptable for anyone, much less an elder, to be deprived of their rights at the hand of law enforcement, and be treated with such force that they are bloodied, bruised and injured."

State and local authorities are investigating the incident, according to news reports.

Read More on the Story:
Yankton Sioux Tribe decries 'excessive force' against elder by Wagner Police Department (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader September 19, 2017)
Yankton Tribe Alleges Use Of Excessive Force Against Tribal Elder (The Yankton Press & Dakotan September 19, 2017)
Yankton Sioux Tribe “Outraged” By Alleged Police Brutality (KDLT September 19, 2017)