Washoe woman charges abuse of police power | RecordCourier.com

Washoe woman charges abuse of police power

Tribal members sing a song in front of the Washoe Tribal Court on April 10 in protest of tribal policies including a motocross track and a refusal to allow tribal employees to testify for the defense.
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

Members of the Washoe Tribe recently protested the handling of a case by the tribal courts.

Dresslerville resident Andrea Big Goose is accused of hindering Tribal Police who came to take her grandson, Nathaniel Dion Pahe, into custody on Oct. 24, 2013, on a warrant issued by Douglas County.

Pahe had been involved in an altercation at Carson Valley Medical Center on Aug. 14 after he had to be restrained from leaving the center by Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies.

Big Goose, 64, said her grandson took an overdose of prescription drugs and spent a week in August on life support at Renown Regional Medical Center.

The warrant was issued on Oct. 8, which Big Goose said gave tribal police plenty of time to serve it.

“I suggest a simple phone call from Washoe Police Capt. Richard Varner would have been sufficient as I have had to deal with my grandson’s mental issues since he was 8 years old,” she said. “Throughout the years I have cooperated in every way with law enforcement and the court.”

Big Goose said that when four officers saw that Pahe was in the house, they knocked her down as they were entering.

“I am grateful nobody was hurt more than they were because the incident was total chaos and clumsy,” she said. “I have pictures of bruises, a huge bruise on my upper left arm.”

Pahe was taken into custody and appeared in East Fork Justice Court on Oct. 28 on charges of battery and obstructing a police officer.

Big Goose is facing similar charges in tribal court. She said the prosecutor has tried on several occasions to get her to sign a document saying she acknowledged that she wasn’t allowed to touch an on-duty officer, but she has refused.

She said her efforts to get the officers and a Tribal employee who took pictures of her bruises to testify have been stonewalled.

An April 3 bench trial was scheduled, but her attorney, David Humke, was not allowed to issue subpoenas to the officers, so it has been continued.

Humke is seeking dismissal of the charges because he’s been told he can’t call the officers to testify in the case.

In his April 4 motion to dismiss, Humke pointed out there is no written rule that tribal employees may not be subpoenaed, and because of that he cannot put on an adequate defense.

“What all this boils down to is that I can sign a paper and make these charges go away, but it won’t go away for our people,” she said.

Tribal Chairman Darrell Kizer said it would be inappropriate for the Tribe to comment on an ongoing criminal matter.