A run-in with California cops in the early morning hours of July 24, 2021, turned ugly for an indigenous man and his dog.
Around 2 a.m. that day, deputies with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) who were responding to a domestic disturbance call ran across the dog and its owner, a Paiute man, named George Barlow III, in an empty gas station parking lot in Bishop, a small California town of 3,700 near the Nevada border.
Hours later, the dog was dead, and the 32-year-old Barlow—whom a friend on social media later admired for “his big smile and his infectious laughter”—was in an Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital.
The incident was caught on a bystander's cellphone video after the cops arrived at the apartment complex where the call originated, and the sight of Barlow diverted their attention, "agitated and yelling" in a vacant gas station across the street which sits on the Bishop Pauite Reservation.
After Barlow allegedly yelled a threat at the officers and walked toward them—their report said he “charged” them—he was pepper-sprayed by one of the cops. The other stunned him with a Taser. Both officers were firing from a distance of about 10 feet.
The video then shows Barlow fell to the ground, where the cops proceeded to punch him repeatedly, kicking him across the floor as they dragged his pit bull by its leash in an apparent attempt to fend off the animal. When that failed to quiet the dog, they shot it dead.
In a statement, ICSO said that Barlow lunged for the deputies’ weapons and ignored their verbal commands. His dog allegedly bit them, too, before they killed it.
The incident is now under review by ICSO, and the county District Attorney before a Use of Force Review Board studies it. An outside consultant will also review the case to decide whether the deputies involved should be disciplined or charged.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Jeff Hollowell met with the Bishop Pauite tribal council the day after the incident “to field questions and quell rumors.”
Sources: Indian Country Today, Daily Beast
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