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Green Bay, WI rally protests killing of indigenous man

By Hollie Poupart |
November 7, 2018
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Green Bay, WI - On November 2, local grassroots activist group Black Lives United Green Bay, together with Native Lives Matter from Minneapolis, hosted a vigil for Jonathon Tubby, an indigenous man murdered by Green Bay police. Nearly 200 people came out to share good memories and their feelings in response to Jonathon’s death at the hands of police.

The people who spoke at the vigil demanded accountability, transparency and the immediate suspension of the officers involved. Members of Native Lives Matter spoke on the killings of unarmed Native American people all over the United States. Hollie Poupart, an activist with Oshkosh-based community organization United Action Oshkosh (UAO), spoke at the end of the vigil. Her message of police accountability councils was put forward as a means of seeing justice done for Tubby and his family.

During the night of October 19, Green Bay Police Officer Erik O’Brien shot and killed Tubby during the booking process at Brown County Jail. He was arrested that evening for failing to report to court for a recent DUI charge. The details of this case aren’t well known, with an investigation taking weeks before the state will know what events led to Tubby’s death. The family and friends of Tubby demand to know what caused O'Brien to shoot him. Tubby was presumed to be unarmed.

Even though an investigation has not yet been completed, Officer O’Brien has been allowed to return to his work on ‘administrative duties.’ This decision sparked outrage and disgust in the community and from Tubby's loved ones.

In an open letter read at the November 2 vigil, the family wrote, “The community wants transparency and accountability. It is unfathomable that the officer who killed Jonathon has already returned to work. The community demands that this officer be removed from work until this investigation has been completed.” The letter also stated, “The community also demands the immediate release of any video tape involved in the shootings.”

Lindsey Spietz, a leader from UAO, attended the demonstration. "It was very apparent from the chorus of voices raised at the vigil that many of the tribal community members are fed up with the lack of transparency and police accountability," Spietz said. "The indigenous people of this country have for too long been oppressed and murdered by the government."

Spietz continued, "A police accountability council would help bring their frustrations and concerns to the forefront. It would put the power back in their hands, allowing them to hold this police officer responsible for the death of Jonathon Tubby."

According to recent updates, there were no cameras located in the sally port where Tubby was killed, leaving the community to wonder why. The investigation is only beginning. The family, friends, and community activists will apply pressure on the Brown County Police Department to hold those responsible for Tubby’s death accountable. As ever, the struggle against police brutality continues. We stand tall when we say, "Justice for Jonathon Tubby!"