With their own police force and their own sovereign territory, has the Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas attempted to create a puppet police force to cover up for them?
I recently spoke with people from the Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They told me about the tribe and how they believe a police force was put in place to cover up the violations of the law that are committed within the tribe. A huge contributing factor and common theme with the violations (such as public intoxication, driving while intoxicated, and assault/family violence) was alcohol. Other common crimes are disorderly conduct and minors in possession and/or consumption of alcohol.
Before the Tribal Police force was created, the Polk County Sheriff's Office would respond to calls out at the reservation. Deputies from the County didn't have to face pressure from the Tribal Council. They would show up and take care of business. Perhaps the tribal council didn't like seeing people from the reservation getting arrested going to jail. Did they create a puppet police force as a way to prevent this?
Recently (within the last few days), there was a case where an intoxicated 20 year old fell out of the bed of a pickup on the reservation. The pickup fled the scene. The Alabama Coushatta Reservation Police were summoned. The 20 year old sustained serious head injuries and was hospitalized. His injuries were serious enough for life flight, but the weather conditions weren't suitable for life flight. When police questioned locals, nobody knew anything. On that same morning, another intoxicated underage (female) was found passed out in the woods on the reservation. She was transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Once again, nobody knew anything.
One of the most common calls for reservation police is assault/family violence. Police are called to halt the situation, but nobody will press charges. The AC Police are allegedly getting frustrated. The police force on the tribe consists of eleven police officers licensed by the State of Texas. Three of the officers are Native Americans, the other eight are non-Native Americans. The Tribal Council of the AC Tribe is allegedly putting pressure on these officers to not charge their people with crimes committed within the tribe. The officers are getting frustrated because they're trained to do their jobs. How can the police officers effectively police if the council is pressuring them to let people slide and nobody will talk to them? These peace officers are not licensed by the AC Tribe, but by the State of Texas.
Has the Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas attempted to find a clever and surreptitious way to circumvent the law? I don't believe the police want to be puppets, they want to do their jobs and go by the laws of the State of Texas. I invite the Police Chief of the AC Tribe of Texas to email me and we can arrange a meeting. -- Willie P. Openshaw, Editor
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