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Reporter Who Witnessed Pine Ridge Shoot Out Calls for Presidential Clemency

January 08, 2001
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In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times,’ reporter Kevin McKiernan, called on President Clinton to commute the life sentence of Native American activist Leonard Peltier. McKiernan was the only reporter present during the 1975 shootings at the Pine Ridge Reservation that resulted in the deaths of two FBI agents and one Native American.

McKiernan wrote: "I don’t know which American Indian killed FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in a notorious South Dakota shoot-out 25 years ago. Nor do I know the identity of the federal lawman who shot and killed Joe Stuntz, the American Indian Movement (AIM) member, whose body I photographed afterward. But I was there on June 25, 1975, outside the Jumping Bull ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, when some of the bullets were flying. A stray round hit my pickup, and my memory is still fresh of crouching low behind the truck with my portable tape deck, recording the exchange of gunfire for a National Public Radio broadcast."

Describing a pervasive "climate of fear" on the reservation, McKiernan writes that it is time for "President Bill Clinton [to] provide closure to a difficult and divisive period."

Guests:

  • Kevin McKiernan, covered the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for, National Public Radio from 1973-76. He was the co-producer of the PBS, Frontline program 'The Spirit of Crazy Horse.'

Contact:

  • White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111

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