Outrage Grows After Deputies Beat Native American Man, Kill His Dog
via YouTube / Inyo County Sheriff's Office
At around 2 a.m. last Saturday, two MPs responded to a report of domestic violence in a residential complex in a tiny California town.
But instead of finding the 911 operator or their suspected suspect, the police beat up a Native American, sprayed and beaten him with pepper spray, and shot his dog.
The troubling encounter, captured on viewer videos and body cam footage from the Inyo County Sheriff's Office, sparked outrage and divided residents of Bishop, a town of approximately 3,700 people near the Nevada border.
George Barlow, 32, was at an empty gas station on the Bishop Paiute reservation when an Inyo County MP first approached. The sheriff's own account of the incident shows that Barlow wasn't even their suspect. “While searching the area, MPs noticed a male subject across the street from the chevron station, which was closed; the subject was excited and screaming, ”read a press release.
On Monday, the sheriff's office released body cam footage of the shocking episode that took Barlow to the hospital. (Warning: this footage contains images of the police beating Barlow and shooting his dog.)
According to police, Barlow attacked a deputy, refused to obey orders, and grabbed a deputy baton - all of which were backed up by the body cam footage. However, police also alleged that the dog, a pit bull, was shot after Barlow ordered it to attack, and there were no audible orders of this kind in the footage released by the police.
You have charged Barlow with crimes including obstructing / resisting officers, threatening criminal intent, assaulting with a deadly weapon (non-firearm), parole violation, and battery on a peace officer.
Footage of the incident posted on social media by both police officers and a bystander seem to show that the situation was not so straightforward.
Inyo County District Attorney Thomas Hardy told The Daily Beast that the charges against Barlow have not been forwarded to his office. "To my knowledge, the sheriff is conducting an active investigation into Mr. Barlow, but it has not been referred," said Hardy.
However, Hardy is investigating the two MPs for possible crimes related to excessive violence. "That is the top priority right now," said Hardy, adding that he has received numerous emails from citizens holding an account. “But it is more important to be thorough and precise than to be quick. That being said, I hope we'll have it ready in a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months. "
For Barlow's family and supporters, the incident is yet another reminder of what they see as the brutal treatment of indigenous people by law enforcement agencies.
"My cousin George 'fits the description' and is therefore in the hospital for life support and his dog is dead," wrote a family member on Instagram and on a GoFundMe page. "He wasn't the person in question."
Barlow "didn't deserve to be treated so brutally, nobody does," added the relative on the fundraising site, which raised more than $ 25,000 for Barlow's medical bills and legal fees. "Law enforcement agencies in Payahuunadu (Owens Valley) have a history of brutalizing indigenous people and we are getting little to no justice."
A childhood friend of Barlow's, Lina Sandoval, described him as "the biggest teddy bear" who had a smile on his face regardless of the heartache he went through, including the loss of his mother. "Despite his size, he's not aggressive," said Sandoval. "That's why it's so shocking and disappointing."
"The people in Bishop are trying to justify what happened because the dog allegedly attacked the officers," added Sandoval. "The dog is not in the video until the police hit George."
The 11-minute-41-second video of the Inyo County Sheriff's Office incident shows the pit bull stepping in and jumping on the proxy while arguing with Barlow and the proxy yelling, "I'm going to shoot your dog." But the footage did not clearly show the dog biting MPs, even though police said they had "suffered dog bites".
The video also includes audio of the emergency call that brought MPs to the area. In it, a woman reported an alleged incident of domestic violence around 2 a.m. in an apartment building on Tu Su Lane.
According to a police statement, MPs could not find the caller and went to the Chevron train station across the street. A MP spotted Barlow, who, according to police, said "I can kill you too" before charging at him. (Body cam footage, reviewed by The Daily Beast, seems to capture Barlow's words, “Can I ... you too?
Authorities also confirmed that MPs then hit Barlow with their batons, but said it happened after two tasers were ineffective.
The second deputy also sprayed Barlow with pepper spray, police say, and he dropped the baton and walked away. Barlow was arrested after MPs used a sheriff's K-9 to pursue him.
Although the body camera footage confirmed some of MPs' claims about the encounter, it only raised questions about other matters.
At one point on an officer body cam video, Barlow's hands were in the air and he was standing shirtless, away from the cops, yelling “help” while a taser's red laser marked his chest before one of the agents marked him triggered. The officer was using the taser when Barlow turned to walk away.
A video posted on social media captured by a viewer across the street paints a darker picture of the incident.
In the social media video, Barlow is seen on the ground while cops kick him when he appears to be grabbing one of their batons and his dog is running in circles.
Questions also remain about Barlow's first meeting with MPs, which police say sparked the violent chain of events.
The first body cam released by the police shows a deputy approaching the gas pumps and shouting "Yo" to Barlow, who replies with "Hi" before jogging closer.
"Don't hit me, brother," warns the officer as Barlow walks up to him. "Sure, you'll be tased."
"What do you want?" asks Barlow, running to the deputy and raising his arms in the air. "Why are you fucking me?"
From there the policeman uses the taser and things escalate immediately. When Barlow's dog is shot, he was near Barlow, as the footage shows.
The second deputy then grabs his German Shepherd police dog from a truck and chases after Barlow. "Help me!" Barlow screams after the police dog jumps at him and he falls to the ground.
“Stop resisting! You are arrested! ”One of the police officers can be heard screaming. The images are too dark to see, but Barlow's screams can be heard along with the growls.
Police said Barlow was taken to hospital "with a dog bite and multiple cuts from fighting and the use of taser arrows and batons".
Footage from a third body cam taken by a Bishop Police Department officer showed Barlow lying naked in a pool of blood while police told him they were trying to provide assistance.
While Barlow's condition is unclear, local radio station Sierra Wave posted a photo of him with a breathing tube in the hospital.
Barlow's family did not return messages from The Daily Beast to comment, but a relative posted an update on Facebook Monday, “George had the tubes removed !!! He also breathes alone with medication ... his voice is a little scratchy, probably from the hoses, but I hear he's in a good mood !!! "
On Tuesday, friends and relatives called for an investigation at a meeting of the Inyo County Board of Directors, according to Sierra Wave.
“What would you do if George Barlow were your son? The whole community is your family, ”said one person identified as Roger Barlow.
The CEO replied that we “cannot legally discuss” the matter. Sheriff Jeff Hollowell then told the crowd that his agency had hired an independent firm to conduct an investigation that should take about three weeks.
Sandoval told The Daily Beast that it was "absolutely absurd" that Barlow is still being charged.
"He wasn't a threat to anyone, he didn't deserve it," she said.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
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