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UPDATE: Oglala Sioux president arrested, officials not yet sharing charges
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UPDATE: Oglala Sioux president arrested, officials not yet sharing charges

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Julian Bear Runner

Julian Bear Runner

The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe was arrested Saturday but officials said Monday they won’t disclose why unless formal charges are filed.

Julian Bear Runner was booked into jail on May 2, according to the Community Information Portal website of the tribe's departments of public safety and corrections. His name was removed from the roster by May 3.

Police Chief Robert Ecoffey said he won’t comment on the circumstances of the arrest and what police charged Bear Runner with since the tribe's attorney general said to refer questions to him.

Ecoffey usually shares initial charges or reasons for arrest with the Journal, which typically reports on major crimes and those allegedly committed by public officials or those in positions of leadership and responsibility.

Attorney General Scott James also said he won’t share the details of the arrest and what police charged Bear Runner with. He said he will decide Tuesday if he’s filing formal charges, and if so, what they will be.

We need to decide “whether there are facts, evidence to support the elements” of any crime, James said.

James shared that Bear Runner bonded out of jail after posting a scheduled bond, which is a set amount of bond required for lower-level crimes. He said people accused of more serious crimes must wait in jail until a judge sets the bond.

If Bear Runner is formally charged, he will be arraigned in June, said James.

Jail officials would also not comment on the charges or when Bear Runner was booked in and out of the facility.

Bear Runner acknowledged in a Sunday news release that he was arrested the day before by tribal police officers. But he said he can’t yet comment on “anything alleged against me” since he hasn’t been arraigned.

"As a tribal member I am afforded due process through the courts that every one of us is entitled to," Bear Runner said in the release. "At this time, I am not able to comment on anything alleged against me. However, as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe I do want to inform our Oyate," of the arrest and other information.

The government "is still fully functioning" and COVID-19 prevention measures are still in place, said Bear Runner. "I remain committed to the work that I have taken on to keep the Oglala Oyate safe and prosperous. I will continue to move forward with the health and well being of my Oyate and the best interest in my heart.

"I want to encourage everyone to continue to remain unified with our efforts in strengthening our communities, defending our sovereignty and standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of adversity," he said.​

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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