Created: December 28, 2020 06:24 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A video taken Sunday at the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque shows a park ranger tasing a Native American man for being off the trail.
Darrell House, a Native American and Marine veteran, was walking his dog at the national monument on Albuquerque’s West Side. While at the sacred site, House said he often prays and meditates, which sometimes means leaving the trail by a few feet.
“I go there to pray. I bring my sage. I do my prayers. I harvest dirt from the area for ceremonies,” he said.
House said he was approached by a large group of walkers on the trail, so he moved off the trail for social distancing reasons.
“This park ranger started following me, and he came out of nowhere and he got upset about that. I guess he was upset about me going off trail before, you know, doing my prayers for the rocks,” House said.
A four-minute video posted to House’s Instagram shows a park ranger repeatedly deploying his taser at House while House appears to be confused and afraid. House said he also believes the barbs of the taser may have hit his small dog.
In the video, the park ranger attempts to handcuff House, and is not heard explaining why he deployed his taser or why House was being detained.
House eventually agreed to sit and be handcuffed. The park ranger discovered no weapons on House.
A spokesperson from the National Park Service sent KOB 4 a statement about the incident that read in part, "This incident is under review and has been referred to our internal affairs unit for a thorough investigation. We take any allegation of wrongdoing very seriously, and appreciate the public's patience as we gather the facts of this incident."
As for House, he said the petroglyphs are sacred for him. The rocks there contain the writings of his ancestors, and the original inhabitants of the land.
“I didn't harm anyone,” he said. “ I didn't cause any harm to anybody. I wasn't disorderly. I wasn't on any substances. This has been going for years. I'm practicing my religious rights on my ancestral land.”
The park ranger cited House for interfering with agency functions, concealing his identity and being off trail.
Earlier this year, the 4 Investigates team exposed a park ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park who also deployed his taser at an unarmed visitor. That park ranger went on to shoot and kill the Colorado native.
That ranger was criminally cleared of any wrongdoing, but faces a federal lawsuit from the man’s family
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