Photo courtesy Rapid City Journal
Rebecca Sotherland, 33, was found not guilty after amateur video caught her using a taser an estimated 28 times on an allegedly intoxicated man.

WATCH: Officer Who Used Taser an Estimated 28 Times on Man Exonerated

Sheena Louise Roetman
12/14/15

An officer charged with repeatedly using a Taser on an allegedly intoxicated man was found not guilty by a federal jury last week in Rapid City.

Rebecca Sotherland, 33, was fired from the Oglala Sioux Tribe police force in 2014 after a cell phone video surfaced showing her using a Taser approximately 28 times on Jeffery Eagle Bull while he was lying unresponsive on the ground in Manderson.

A 12-person jury found Sotherland not guilty of three criminal charges, including deprivation of Constitutional rights, assault with a dangerous weapon and obstruction of a federal investigation by filing a false report.

In the cell phone video shot by a passerby, which went viral after the August 15, 2014 incident, approximately 17 Taser jolts can be counted. However, according to the Associated Press, 28 jolts can reportedly be detected in the 26-minute video Sotherland’s body camera recorded during the encounter, which was played during the trail.

The Associated Press also reported that assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner reported Eagle Bull had consumed “a gallon of vodka that day, and his blood alcohol content was 0.319 four hours after his last drink.”

According to the Associated Press, Sotherland’s attorneys “argued Eagle Bull was ‘playing possum’ to avoid incarceration,” while the prosecution stated he “was so intoxicated he had passed out and had not ability to respond.”

Eagle Bull was reportedly not seriously injured during the incident.

After the cell phone video went viral, many people familiar with Sotherland complained of past abuses of power, as reported by Indian Country Today.

Southerland was indicted on August 28, 2014 after joining the police force in 2013. She is not a tribal member and grew up in Hot Springs, South Dakota, located about two hours northwest of Manderson. She became an officer in 2011.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation voted to end the reservation-wide ban on alcohol in August of 2013 by a narrow vote – 1,843 for legalization and 1,678 against.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Herein lies the problem with NOT allowing tribal law handle offenses against Natives when the aggressor is White. In U.S. courts, White is Right.

Alamosaurus's picture
Alamosaurus
Submitted by Alamosaurus on
Unfortunately, police seem to have a certain mentality, and this mentality is independent of race or ethnic group. Most cops have authoritarian personalities and think any problem can be solved by the use of force-- even lethal force.
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