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Tribal Affairs

Family To Challenge FBI Handling Of Crow Man's Death

Legal Gavel
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Family To Challenge FBI Handling Of Crow Man's Death

Indigenous people from across Montana gathered in a Helena courtroom today to hear oral arguments about how the FBI handled a Crow man’s murder.

14 years ago, Crow tribal member, Steven Bearcrane, was shot and killed by a white man on the Crow Reservation. The FBI determined that Bearcrane was killed in an act of self-defense.

On Tuesday, his family argued that they’re entitled to victim's benefits because the FBI misclassified the shooting.

This is a new way to get at an old argument that the family has been pursuing for over a decade now--that Bearcrane’s death was treated unfairly because of racism towards Native Americans.

“Everybody expects the law to be upheld when something happens to you, who do go to, the law, to have justice,” says Earline Cole, Bearcrane’s mother.

Cole in past legal documents has said that the FBI knowingly provides less law enforcement to Native Americans.

The judge made no decision Tuesday. The federal government has submitted a motion to dismiss.