Justin Pero. Image: Native Lives Matter
Law | Opinion

Gyasi Ross: Native child gunned down by police officer on his own homelands

Jason Pero was only 14 years old when he was shot and killed by a police officer in Wisconsin on November 8, 2017. The young citizen of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa didn't have to die, Gyasi Ross writes on The Huffington Post:
People call 911 because they expect help, because they want prevent someone from getting hurt. People do not call 911 because they want to be hurt or because they want to hurt somebody else.

Unfortunately, many times when brown-skinned people call 911 for help, they get killed instead.

A 14-year-old child named Jason Pero called 911 and an Ashland County Sheriff deputy by the name of Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich responded to his 911 call. Jason was home from school and he had a knife in his hand. Interestingly, Wisconsin has some of the more liberal knife laws in the land, but more on that later. Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich—the man who killed the young child—said that the child “lunged” at him. Implicit in the officer’s statement is the notion that he had no other option but to fatally shoot a young boy with a knife—he could not detain him, taze him, shoot him in the hand that held the knife, etc.

Even assuming that Jason indeed lunged at him, that should not necessitate lethal force. As American Civil Liberties Union attorney Claudia Center said, “You should not be assuming that just because a knife is in the picture that lethal force is automatically required or appropriate.”

But Mrdjenovich assumed that lethal force was required against this child.

Read More on the Story:
Native American Child Gunned Down By Ashland County Sheriff Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich: #JusticeForJason (The Huffington Post November 16, 2017)

Related Stories:
Bad River Band seeks answers after police officer shoots and kills 14-year-old boy (November 10, 2017)
Bad River Band 'deeply saddened and troubled' by shooting of boy by police officer (November 9, 2017)