A Native American hiker is seen in a video writhing on the ground of a national park in New Mexico after being tasered by a ranger.
The circumstances that preceded the recent altercation in Petroglyph National Monument are disputed. The hiker Darrell House claims he was trying to be socially distant from an approaching group of other visitors, which is why he ventured off the trail on December 27.
The National Park Service said Tuesday he and a woman were confronted for being in an off-limits area and also provided false information to a ranger who initially tried resolving the issue through "educational contact and simple warning."
The video, recorded by House’s sister, shows him screaming on the ground while a ranger lunges at him with the taser. At other points, the ranger warns he will use the taser again if House doesn’t get down on the ground and place his hands behind his back.
"I come here to pray and speak to my Pueblo Ancestor relatives. Even though I’m Navajo and Oneida, I honor this land," House said in a statement posted on Instagram along with the video. "Here, you will see a white man abuse his power… This could have been a civil interaction. The law doesn’t work for the Indigenous."
The recording captured more than four minutes of the altercation. The ranger has not been identified.
Although authorities didn’t identify House by name either, a "male" was cited "for being in a closed area off trail, providing false information and failing to comply with a lawful order," the NPS statement said. "The female individual received citations for providing false information and being in a closed area off trail."
The park is home to sensitive rock carvings and archaeological treasures, which is why access is restricted in some parts, the Park Service says.
"If anyone has the right to be off trail and wonder [sic] this land, it’s the NATIVE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY!" House’s Instagram post said
The case is under investigation and will include a review of the social media video as well as footage from body cameras, the NPS said.
"While the incident remains under investigation," the NPS said "we are sharing more details and the facts as we know them in an effort to provide as much transparency as possible."