Prosecutor rejects wrongful death claim in hospital shooting

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — A man who was shot to death by a police officer at a hospital on a Native American reservation was killed due to his own negligence and actions, the U.S. attorney in South Dakota said in rejecting a federal lawsuit filed by the victim's mother.

An Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer took Jamie Brave Heart to the Pine Ridge hospital on June 3, 2016, after his mother said he was acting strangely. Brave Heart stabbed and cut the officer as he tried to flee the hospital and the officer shot him, tribal spokesman Kevin Yellow Bird Steele said at the time.

In July 2018, Brave Heart's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming excessive force and negligence, and seeking $2 million for "pain and suffering." She said in the complaint that her 28-year-old son was taken to the hospital for an assessment but instead was shot "numerous times" by Officer Charles Hunter. The mother's lawsuit did not mention Brave Heart stabbing the police officer or any other actions that might have caused Hunter to shoot him.

In a response filed Jan. 10, U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons said Brave Heart's death was caused by his own negligence and actions, the Rapid City Journal reported .

Terry Pechota, the lawyer representing Brave Heart's mother, said he would not comment on the incident or lawsuit. The U.S. Attorney's Office has yet to make a statement.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,