Appeals court affirms tribal officer authority

The State Court of Appeals has affirmed a Becker County court decision allowing a tribal officer to make a stop and an arrest outside a reservation’s boundaries.

According to court documents, Raymond Bellcourt failed to stop for a school bus with an extended stop-signal arm and flashing lights.

Bellcourt reportedly was driving a pickup truck with a plow attachment and passed the bus, on the right, at a high rate of speed.

His defense appealed that because a White Earth tribal officer arrested him outside the boundaries of the White Earth reservation, the officer was outside his authority.

The courts affirmed that because the tribal office was a state-licensed peace officer, he was acting in the course and scope of his employment.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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