August 26, 2014

Former Oglala Sioux Tribe Police Officer Indicted for Using Excessive Force

WASHINGTON—A former Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for violating the constitutional rights of a man in her custody by repeatedly using her Taser on him without justification, announced U.S. Attorney Brenden V. Johnson.

Rebecca M. Sotherland, aka Becky Sotherland and Becki Sotherland, age 32, was indicted on Aug. 26, 2014, for Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the federal crime victims fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

The indictment alleges that on Aug. 15, 2014, Sotherland, while acting under color of law, repeatedly deployed a Taser on the victim causing bodily injury to the victim. The alleged offense took place in Manderson, South Dakota.

The charges are merely accusations and Sotherland is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Collins and Kevin Koliner are prosecuting the case, with assistance from Jared Fishman, with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.