Tribal Traffic Stops Upheld By US Supreme Court

Tribal police can now target non-Indian motorists with traffic stops and speed traps following Tuesday’s US Supreme Court ruling. The justices unanimously approved of the arrest of Joshua James Cooley, who was resting in his truck on the side of US Route 212 in Montana on land within the boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation on February 26, 2016.

Cooley’s pickup had Wyoming plates, and the bed of the truck was filled with personal belongings. It was clear to tribal Officer James Saylor that the man was not an Indian, but he decided to investigate. He knocked on the truck window, and Saylor gave him a thumbs down, hoping he would go away. Officer Saylor knocked again, ordering him to lower the window.