Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 2, 2011

Columbus, Ohio Police Target Native Americans

Columbus, Ohio, area police target Native
American Long Walkers for the second time

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo 1: Long Walker stopped and searched on Friday. Photo by walkers. Photo 2: Luv arrested in 2008 by city, photo by Marie Littlemoon.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Native American Long Walkers have once again been targeted, searched and harassed by police near Columbus, Ohio -- just as they were in 2008 when Native American Long Walkers were attacked by police in the City of Columbus.
"Columbus is alive in the City of Columbus," said the Western Shoshone driver of the vehicle that was targeted on Friday.
The two Native Americans had just walked across America, on the five-month Long Walk 3 for the Reversal of Diabetes, which departed Oregon in February. These two walkers crossed America in a spirit of prayer for American Indians, and humanity. Their names are not being given at this time in order to keep them safe on their journey.
On Friday, the passenger in the vehicle, a Native American from Warm Springs, Oregon, described what happened, by way of cellphone, to Censored News.
They were heading home from Washington, D.C., in the flow of traffic, traveling fifteen miles outside of Columbus, in the direction of Dayton. Ohio state troopers singled out their vehicle in the flow of traffic on the highway.
Ohio state troopers brought in a police dog to search their vehicle for drugs. After the dog scratched the vehicle, and found no drugs, police continued searching for drugs. The vehicle was searched three times, with police tearing out components in the door.
The two Native American men were separated and interrogated. They were questioned extensively about the sage in their vehicle, a wild plant in the west which is burned during ceremonies.
"They kept asking us about our sage, if we were smoking it," said the Long Walker from Warm Springs, pointing out that the police were unaware of how sage is burned during Native American prayers.
The driver was cited for speeding and paid the speeding ticket of $151.

As the Long Walkers walked into Washington, D.C. this week, their group was also stopped and harassed by police in Frederick, Maryland. They rerouted their walk and arrived at the US Capitol, where two of the walkers met with US Senators from their home states of Nevada and Oregon on Wednesday and Thursday.
This is the second time that Native American Long Walkers crossing America were targeted by Columbus, Ohio, area police. After an unwarranted physical attack by police in 2008, the City of Columbus apologized.
Unprovoked Columbus, Ohio, police attacked Long Walkers, by first pointing a taser at the head of Michael Lane and then forcing Luv the Mezenger to the ground and handcuffing him.
The Long Walk was walking this prayer through Columbus on Monday, June 2, 2008, when police squad cars and arrest wagons arrived. Without discussion of the purpose of the prayer walk, or verifying that the Ohio Department of Transportation had been notified of the prayer walk, city police attacked the walkers.
Michael Lane, who arrived on the walk with his wife, Sharon Heta, Maori, and their children from New Zealand, was targeted by police with a taser.
As dozens of police came at the walkers, a police officer pointed a taser at Lane's head.
Luv the Mezenger from Los Angeles went to the aid of Lane. At that point, police officers threw Luv on the ground and handcuffed him. Luv has been on the walk since it left California in February, walking on snowshoes over a stretch of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Lane, who has a law degree from the Arizona State University, said the worst part of being targeted by a police officer with a taser was that it terrified his three daughters who only knew that a gun was being pointed at their father’s head.
Luv suffered minor injuries from the police attack. Police placed Luv under arrest and in the paddy wagon before releasing him.
Watch the video of the dramatic police attack, which airs the cries of the Native American children. Video by Long Walker Marie Littlemoon:
Traveling with the Long Walkers in 2008, were Earthcycles producer Govinda and Censored News publisher Brenda Norrell, cohosts of the five-month Long Walk Talk Radio in 2008. The attack was documented in audio interviews (below.)
Govinda said on the live radio show, “They came to arrest the walkers with paddy wagons without even having a discussion as to what the walk is about, or the fact that the Ohio Department of Transportation has already been contacted.”
The harassment by Ohio police continued, on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, when police ordered Longest Walk drummers off an area at the Ohio State Capitol. However, the Long Walkers continued with their press conference and aired statements on their loud speaker at the capitol.
It was four months after the prayer walk began on Alcatraz, on Feb. 11, 2008.
Prior to June 2, there had been no attacks on the walkers in 2008. In fact, the majority of the governors in the states that the northern route of walkers walked through issued proclamations of support for the Longest Walk 2.
The Longest Walk 2 for Mother Earth and protection of sacred places was carried out thirty years after the original 1978 Longest Walk, a prayer walk for Indian rights and the recognition of the inherent sovereignty of Indian people and Indian Nations.
The ACLU, in its report on Arizona's Racial Profiling, "Driving While Black or Brown," has documented that Native Americans in Arizona stopped by police are three times more likely to be searched by police than non-Indians.
Listen to the interviews about the prayer walkers attacked by Ohio police:
Earthcycles: Listen to interviews on Ohio police attack on Long Walkershttp://www.2008-06-04_luvthemezzenger.mp3/
audio two:
audo three:
audio four:
Copyright Censored News. Articles and photos may not be reposted without permission. For permission to reprint, please contact publisher Brenda Norrell at Censored News:

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