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Embed America: Wide open spaces but reservation residents don't feel free
Calvin "Hawkeye" Waln says raising allegations of abuses against his reservation's police department cost him his job.
August 9th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Embed America: Wide open spaces but reservation residents don't feel free

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Listen: Native Americans confront police brutality on reservation

Rosebud, South Dakota (CNN) – They are watchwords of both parties: freedom and liberty.

But when Embed America went to South Dakota we found a place where many say that both are threatened and the problem is ignored. The Rosebud Sioux Reservation includes one of the poorest counties in the nation, but residents talked with us more about their concerns that the tribal police force is part of a broken justice system.

We spoke with Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, a recently fired police officer who made some serious charges.

[3:14] “You're talking violations of civil rights, excessive use of force is one. You’re talking spraying handcuffed suspects with pepper spray to physical police brutality where the officers end up injuring or breaking bones from assaulting somebody.”

Waln says his reporting these problems led to his ouster. The police department would not comment on why he was fired.

This comes after years of upheaval in the Rosebud police force. Two chiefs of police were fired in the past four years amidst corruption allegations, then the second chief was reinstated in the past few weeks.

Read the full story on CNN's Soundwaves blog

April 4th, 2012
02:45 PM ET

No African-American senators likely in near future


By Lisa Desjardins, CNN Radio Senior Correspondent

Washington (CNN) – Few might realize it, but Tuesday's primary elections might have quietly sealed the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. Senate for a couple of more years.

On Tuesday, C. Anthony Muse, thought to be the strongest black candidate for U.S. Senate this year, lost his Democratic primary race in Maryland, coming in a distant second to Sen. Ben Cardin, the incumbent. CNN found only one other African-American on a Senate ballot, a Florida candidate who isn’t getting much attention among a wide field of contenders.

Out of 100 U.S.  senators, two are Latino, two are of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry, but none are African-American. Tuesday's primary losses mean a Senate body with relatively little racial or ethnic diversity will likely continue to have no black members for two more years.

"When I tell this to people, most of them are shocked and don't understand how in America that could be the case," said Muse, a Maryland state senator and preacher.

FULL POST