Thomas Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, was arrested February 19 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in what police are saying was an alcohol-related incident. Poor Bear insists the incident was racially motivated and that he wasn’t drinking according to an Associated Press article. The arrest comes less than a month after the tribe announced its lawsuit against brewers, retailers, and distributors of alcohol sold in Whiteclay, Nebraska.
Poor Bear, a major proponent of shutting down the beer stores in Whiteclay that provide the dry reservation with alcohol, said he was heading to the hospital for chest pains when he was stopped for not having a driver’s license. The AP story says Poor Bear continued to the hospital where a white officer attempted to arrest him.
The official charge on the report was obstructing government function while receiving treatment at a hospital and according to the AP said Poor Bear had bloodshot eyes and a blood-alcohol content of .306, nearly quadruple the legal limit for driving.
Poor Bear believes the obstruction charge will be dropped. The charge isn’t alcohol-related, but in the police report it states it was an alcohol related incident. He spent three nights in jail before being released February 22 and has a preliminary hearing appearance on March 16.
Read the full AP article here.