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Video by Leo Yankton: Police incident with Lavan Yankton
Law | National

Lakota man's leg broken in incident with police officers in Nebraska



Lavan Yankton Jr., 28, undergoes surgery after being struck by police vehicle

Relative accuses police of 'abusive authority'
By Kevin Abourezk
@Kevin_Abourezk

A 28-year-old Oglala Lakota man’s leg was broken Friday after being chased by police and being struck by a police cruiser in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lavan Yankton Jr. was leaving an apartment in south Lincoln shortly before 11 a.m. when officers saw him and recognized him. Yankton was wanted on three warrants, one for misdemeanor domestic assault, one for felony domestic assault and one for failing to appear in court.

The officers began chasing Yankton, who ran away. As he was running through an alley, another officer in a cruiser began pursuing Yankton, who was then struck by the cruiser.

From his hospital bed on Thursday night, Yankton said it appeared the officer driving the cruiser intentionally swerved to hit him.

“He came diagonal,” he said. “I don’t if it was to stop me or what, but he ran me over.”

Lavan Yankton Jr.

When the cruiser struck him, Yankton said he heard a snap and immediately fell to the ground, grabbing his left leg. The officer in the cruiser then got out, grabbed Yankton and began turning him over to handcuff him.

Yankton said he told the officer to be careful because his leg was broken.

“I was like, ‘My leg’s broke. My leg’s broke,’” he said. “He didn’t care. He just grabbed me and turned me over. I screamed real loud.”

The officer continued to handcuff him, as Yankton begged for a medic. The officer, noticing Yankton’s injured leg for the first time, then called for an ambulance.

As he awaited surgery scheduled for Saturday, Yankton said he doesn’t understand why the officer decided to knock him down with his cruiser. He said his left leg was broken in three places and likely will need pins and rods implanted to hold it together.

“He didn’t have to run me over,” he said, crying. “I was stopping, but he just kept going.”


He now fears having to serve a significant prison sentence while recovering from a serious leg injury.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be treated in there,” he said.

Leo Yankton, Lavan’s cousin and a co-host of Indianz.com's "Indian Times" podcast, said Lincoln police seem to be attempting to minimize their actions related to the Friday incident.

“The police are trying to get ahead of the story to cover their actions and perpetuate their abusive authority,” he said.

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