Officer Drake Goodale admitted on video that he told a Native American, Pete Yellow Bird, to “go back to the reservation” on June 21 in Eureka, California.
Officer Goodale and Detective Neil Hubbard came upon Yellow Bird who was fixing his car in a parking lot near a city building. The police told Yellow Bird that he couldn’t work on his vehicle there.
Yellow Bird, who cursed at the officers, asked Goodale to repeat what he said before Yellow Bird started filming:
Go back to the reservation? Is that what you told me to do?
Goodale confirmed his racist remark
Absolutely?… Why not?
Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson told the Lost Coast Outpost that an internal police investigation was underway:
What I saw appears to indicate that an officer lost his composure. We’re going to investigate this, and if we find violations of policy we’re going to address it quickly and we’re going to address it firmly.
Watson also said the video was an example of the abuse that police officers often receive:
No matter how nasty someone is to an officer, we have to maintain our composure. We have to be better than that.
Yellow Bird said that he agreed to move the vehicle, but got angry when the officers looked at his driver’s license and Goodale said “go back to the reservation.”
Watson, who was not present, claimed Yellow Bird was tense and hostile from the very beginning.
Yellow Bird said that he didn’t expect much from the police department’s internal investigation:
In my opinion, he doesn’t deserve to be working on the streets anymore. He needs to get some training on how to be a better human being.