- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Bethel residents urged city officials this week to take action on allegations of police brutality against an Alaska Native.

Among those who gave emotional testimony at the Bethel City Council meeting Tuesday was Agnes Gregory, the sister of a man whom a witness said was violently arrested by an officer, KYUK reported Wednesday (https://is.gd/QBOrBG ).

“People treat their animals better than what he did to my brother,” Gregory said. “And everybody should be outraged about that.”

Wassillie Gregory was arrested July 12 by Officer Andrew Reid, court documents and a police report say. The witness, Linda Green, says the officer used excessive force. Officials say an investigation is underway.

A complaint filed by Green says she saw an officer repeatedly pick up a man and slam him to the ground. A police report for an incident around the same time says an officer confronted a highly intoxicated Indian male who was verbally abusive. The officer feared the man had a weapon, arrested him and took him to a hospital.

Court transcripts indicate the man couldn’t appear at a hearing the next day because he was hospitalized for his injuries, which may have included a broken collarbone.

City Attorney Patty Burley declined to comment to The Associated Press on Thursday. The officer did not return an email seeking comment.

A February 2013 report by KYUK said Reid was involved in the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man, Sam Alexie Jr.

Authorities said an investigation by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation determined the shooting was justified because Alexie pointed a gun at the officer.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, acting City Manager Greg Moyer said the investigation of the July 12 arrest is progressing quickly. He said the inquiry should be wrapped up by Friday. Burley stopped Moyer midsentence and advised him to stop speaking about the matter.

Moyer told the radio station that the investigation will be reviewed by a third-party law enforcement organization. He also said police officers will begin to be equipped with personal video cameras to record interaction with the public.

City Councilman Mark Springer said the council feels as deeply about the matter as the rest of the community. He said the city is looking hard at the issue.


Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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