Attorney General Jon Bruning says the lawsuit involving the Pine Ridge Reservation’s lawsuit against beer makers, distributors and retailers in Whiteclay is something Nebraska shouldn’t be involved in.
Bruning says he has visited Pine Ridge several times and admits it is one of the saddest things a person could see. He says there is alcoholism and poverty. He says the solution is not shutting down the beer stores in Whiteclay. He stated that he “despised” the beer sellers in Whiteclay but if the state shuts them down it is feared Pine Ridge residents will then travel to other areas to buy the beer. That puts travelers at danger as possible intoxicated drivers are on the roads.
Bruning says the federal government spends lots of money on reservations but it seems that for every step they want to take for improvements they hit a road block. He says when Tom Osborne served in the House he was able to secure $100,000 to improve law enforcement with a cross-deputization agreement with the reservation. Bruning says that roadblock turned out to be that all of the law enforcement at Pine Ridge had a felony conviction and under Nebraska state law they could not be certified.
Bruning adds if the is money awarded in this or any other lawsuit he fears individuals who receive a portion will spend it on alcohol.