Bad River Tribal Members Voice Concerns About Sheriff's Department

Bad River Tribal members voicing their opinions at Thursday's open meeting. Bad River Tribal members voicing their opinions at Thursday's open meeting. | 

Dan Romano
December 15, 2017 12:24 PM

It's been a little over a month since 14-year-old Jason Pero was killed in an officer-involved shooting. On Thursday, the Bad River Tribal Council and the Bad River Police Commission heard impassioned pleas from tribal members, who are still searching for answers and calling for justice regarding the still-disputed shooting.

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One of the tribal members that chose to speak was Jack Lemieux.

"Jason's death wasn't an incident. It was a killing,” said Lemieux.

There were many strong words from members of the Bad River Reservation.

Cheryl Pero, Jason’s grandmother, has many questions about the official investigation.

"I was hoping the one person that was there could've answered that question for me,” said Pero.

Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan was at the scene, however, he was not at the meeting Thursday. His absence irked many people.

"We need to get them here. They need to hear us,” said Pero.

But tribal council chairman Mike Wiggins said that he suggested Brennan not be at the meeting.

Wiggins says Brennan's appearance would've been a distraction for those who wanted to speak. He also explained that the Sheriff wouldn't have been able to comment on Jason Pero's death because it's still an ongoing investigation. Regardless, many spoke about how they would like to see Brennan step down.

Many of the questions revolved around the cooperation between the Tribal Police Commission and the Ashland County Sheriff's Department,

"What authority does the police commission have over, or that you gave to Ashland County?” asked Pero.

There were a lot of questions.

"Why are they afraid of us?" said Lemieux.

Some members of the reservation, including Tom Deragon Sr., say that the frustration stems from the fear of what may happen in the future.

"More people are going to die because of this," said Deragon Sr.

"But you can all see here now, our family is still in mourning for the loss of Jason,” said Pero.


Dan Romano

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