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Saturday, April 20, 2024

He died in a police chase. Then the police vanished.

A high-speed police chase. A 17-year-old Crow boy, dead. The police report? Nowhere to be found. The entire police department? Vanished. The excruciating question that emerged: What happened to Braven Glenn?

The hunt for answers is at the heart of our searing new short film After the Crash, by reporter Samantha Michaels and filmmaker Mark Helenowski.

Blossom Old Bull was raising her son Braven, a diligent student and passionate basketballer, in the Crow Nation in Montana. On a dark, chilly night in November 2020, a police pursuit began while Braven was driving to meet his girlfriend. Blossom was told her son was speeding and collided with a train, but she had few other details. Despite his cries for help, witnesses say they didn’t see law enforcement offer him medical assistance. He didn’t survive.

Within days, the police department that pursued Braven shuttered, leaving behind no answers, only taped-up windows and locked doors. The force was formed to increase law enforcement presence on the reservation, but by the time of Braven’s death, after just five months in operation, it was still under-resourced. Its sudden disappearance soon after a deadly chase left Braven’s family and community desperately searching for answers—a familiar agony, since official silence after deaths and disappearances on Native reservations is painfully routine. And it speaks to the federal government’s more than century-long practice of grossly underfunding public safety and law enforcement on reservations, while also under-investing in tribal health care, education, housing, and infrastructure.

Read the full investigation—the cover story of our March+April 2024 print magazine—here.

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