Jul 11/97: Police continue to cover up brutality


NYS Police cover-up continues

Keepers of the Fire at Onondaga
3963 Kennedy Road
Nedrow, NY 13120

July 11, 1997

It has been reported that Mr. Salvatore Valvo (the Staff Inspector in charge of the internal investigation of allegations of New York State Police brutality against peaceful demonstrators on the Onondaga nation on 18 May 1997), has found that in fact, "excessive force" was used during that incident. Moreover, Mr. Valvo has accused the New York State Police of attempting to effect a "cover-up" of his findings, by dismissing him as head of the investigation.

To us, as the victims of the State Police brutality, Mr. Valvo's findings are simply a confirmation of what many Central New York viewers witnessed on their news broadcasts as they watched the brutal beating of women, children and the handicapped. However, we were very surprised that "one of their own" had the courage to expose the corrupt behavior of the New York State Law Enforcement Agency. Unfortunately, our expectations of a "cover-up" were fulfilled by the dismissal of Mr. Valvo.

The NYS Police's attempt to cover up the facts, makes it all the more imperative that the Justice Department in Washington, DC investigate the excessive use of force by the New York State Police. Accordingly, we are renewing our June 9, 1997 request to Mr. Richard Roberts, Director of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Justice Department, for an investigation of the New York State Police. For it is evident that the NYS Police is incapable of investigating itself.

There is an obvious parallel between the Rodney King police brutality incident and the excessive use of force by the NYS Police against the Iroquois People. Although the Rodney King incident was videotaped, such proof did not prevent the Municipal and State authorities and the courts from exonerating the criminal behavior of the police. Similarly, the events of May 18, 1997 on the Onondaga Nation are all documented on videotape. However, it is clear that that fact has not deterred the New York State Police from attempting to effect a "cover-up."

We therefore appeal to the Justice Department (as a branch of the United States Government), to investigate this latest outrageous abuse of power within its States. Indeed, we hope that as we attempt to compel our leadership to follow our Nation's Great Law, that the U.S. Government will also bring to justice those who have violated the rights of the People of the Iroquois Nation.

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