A park ranger was seen on video tasering a Native American man who was walking his dog with his sister at a national monument in New Mexico on Sunday.
Darrell House, who is Oneida and Navajo, told NBC News that he went for a stroll with his sister and his dog on Sunday afternoon at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, where he said he often prayed and meditated in honor of the land and his ancestors.
House said he stepped off the trail to maintain social distancing from an approaching group of hikers when a park ranger ran behind him and warned him to stay on the path.
In a short video recorded by House, the park ranger can be heard asking the former marine for his identification, which House said he initially refused to provide before giving a false identity. The officer can be seen warning the man that he would be detained if he did not ID himself.
“I didn’t see a reason to give my identification. I don’t need to tell people why I’m coming there to pray and give things in honor to the land. I don’t need permission or consent,” House said. “And I don’t think he liked that very much.”
Tensions escalated, with the park ranger seen in another video his sister shot repeatedly tasering House to the ground while he cried for help.
In the video, House’s sister can be heard pleading for the park ranger to stop tasering her brother.
“I don’t have anything,” House says, in-between screams. “I apologize for going off the trail.”
The park ranger, who has not been publicly identified, directs House to sit on the floor as he appears to drag the owners’ dog by the leash towards House’s sister.
“You’re being detained because you refused to identify yourself,” the park ranger said. “If you resist, I will tase you.”
Another officer can be seen handcuffing House before the video cuts out.
NBC News does not know what happened before or after what’s shown in the video nor have the identities of the park rangers in the video been confirmed.
A spokesperson for the National Park Service told NBC news in an email that the agency was investigating the incident.
“We take any allegation of wrongdoing very seriously, and appreciate the public’s patience as we gather the facts of this incident,” Vanessa Lacayo said.
Lacayo said all park officers complete extensive law enforcement training and are required to undergo special training to carry Tasers.
House said he was arrested and ticketed for three citations: interfering with agency function and resisting, being off trail and giving false identity information.
House, who has grown up on a reservation, added he has never run into an issue nor encountered a ranger on the hiking trail, where he will often perform his rituals, like offering tobacco and stirring sage.
“We don’t have a set time, we don’t have set places, we don’t have buildings, and we don’t have things built to worship,” House said. “Nature is what we’ve been worshipping, since time and memorial, and protecting it has always been our job.”
“I am Native, you know, I have rights to this land. I have rights off the trail,” he said.