Man gets seven years for assaulting officer

By  | 

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) -- A man who assaulted a highway patrol trooper and commandeered his cruiser before escaping to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was sentenced Thursday to seven years in the state penitentiary.

Joshua Two Bulls had earlier pleaded no contest to aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

In May 2017 Trooper Jake Dowling pulled over Two Bulls on Highway 79 near Spring Creek Road.

Concerned that Two Bulls was giving a false identity, court documents say, Dowling handcuffed Two Bulls in the front seat of the trooper's vehicle. Dowling exited the vehicle to question the passenger in Two Bulls' car.

Two Bulls then began driving Dowling's cruiser.

Dowling tried to stop Two Bulls and was dragged by the car.

After crossing all four lanes of Highway 79 and crashing into Spring Creek, the documents say, Two Bulls sprinted to his car and fled south to the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Still in handcuffs he was detained by Oglala Sioux Tribal Police but later released.

He was not returned to custody in Pennington County until earlier this year after he was arrested in Nebraska on unrelated charges.

The case illustrates an issue here in Western South Dakota: Native suspects can avoid state law enforcement by crossing into sovereign Indian Territory. Pennington County authorities and tribal leaders tried to negotiate new extradition terms with but those talks broke down.

Pine Ridge last year hired a new attorney general and new police chief and in November elected a new president. All three men have told KOTA Territory News that tribal law establishes a protocol for state requests for extradition and said state law enforcement should follow that procedure.

Prosecutors said they planned to take the new leadership up on the idea.

"We've been in contact with tribal authorities including the police chief and the attorney general and we certainly intend to submit to them a list," said Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo. "We're trying to make sure that it's a list that bears some chance of success and so we're consulting with them about what it should look like."