Photo courtesy Melissa Goodblanket
Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, left, was shot seven times by two white Sheriff's deputies in December 2013. Left: Goodblanket's adopted sister Alicia Renee Chaino Ahkeahbo.

Parent: Slain Native American Son 'Would Still Be Here' Had Video Been Taken

Simon Moya-Smith

Two sheriff's deputies shot her son seven times  – once in the back of the head – just days before Christmas in 2013. Now, Melissa Goodblanket said had video captured the incident that fateful night, “somebody would be in prison.”

On Tuesday, news broke that a white police officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, in North Charleston, South Carolina had been charged with murder for the shooting and killing of Walter L. Scott, 50, an African-American male. Scott was shot eight times in the back as he fled from Slager.

Onlooker Feidin Santana caught the latter part of the incident on camera from the opposite side of a chain-link fence.

RELATED: Native American Man Who Attended Anti-Police Brutality Rally Is Killed By Police Next Day

Goodblanket, who spoke to ICTMN Wednesday, said she watched the video of the shooting and immediately began to reflect on the incident that left her son dead.

Goodblanket said she was outside her Clinton, Oklahoma home as two white Custer County deputies shot and killed her 18-year-old Cheyenne and Arapaho son, Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket.

Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket. Photo courtesy Melissa Goodblanket.

Mah-hi-vist, who was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder – a psychological malady that makes children defiant – suffered an episode on the evening of December 21. Mah-hi-vist thought his girlfriend was breaking up with him, Melissa Goodblanket said. So she called the cops.

The deputies would later claim that Mah-hi-vist had a knife when they shot him. His girlfriend, Naomi Barron, who was a witness to the shooting, disputed the claim and said Mah-hi-vist did not have a weapon.

Still, Mah-hi-vist’s father, Wilbur Goodblanket, said had someone captured video footage of the incident – like the alleged murder of Scott – there’s a good possibility his son would be alive.

“If [the deputies] knew they were being filmed … our son would still be here today,” he told ICTMN.

Wilbur Goodblanket said it’s imperative that Native Americans keep their phones charged at all times. He said it’s equally important that Native Americans record their encounters with authorities. He said it could be the difference between life and death.

The white Sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket both received medals for their involvement in the shooting.

The family and their attorney, Ray Wall, are “trying desperately” to get the police report and dispatch recordings of the incident from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Melissa Goodblanket said.

report by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice concluded that Native Americans are statistically more likely to be killed by police than people of any other race.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
As sad as this story is I have to object that video of this tragic incident would have left young Goodblanket alive. Video evidence, if it existed, may have led to charges against the officers responsible instead of medals, but "what if" has to be the saddest game an NDN can play. At this point I'm so cynical about minority encounters with law enforcement that I'm not even sure charges would have been brought against the officers. Natives are American's invisible minority. Most Americans think we all died off in the 1800s.