(Riverton, WY) – “The People’s Theater Inquest: A Mock Hearing about the Shooting of Andy Antelope” is happening on Friday, August 13th, from 7-9 pm at the Central Wyoming College in the Little Theater. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
The mock inquest is to provide the community an in-depth look at what transpired and why the police-involved shooting occurred on September 21st, 2019, in front of the Riverton Walmart.
The event is sponsored by local nonprofit Riverton Peace Mission, whose initiative is to “create community harmony and welcome diversity through peace and mutual understanding.” Funds were also provided by the statewide nonprofit Wyoming Humanities, which is the State’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The Wind River Justice Pod, a local advocacy group that was formed in the wake of the pandemic, also helped plan and organize the mock inquest as well as the ACLU group Justice4Andy.
[of the mock inquest] is to expand the community narrative about what happened,” shared Riverton Peace Mission Chair Chesie Lee.
The information that will be presented that evening is from the Department of Criminal Investigation’s report that was conducted following the shooting, as well as information released in the news.
The mock inquest itself is only expected to take about an hour, according to Lee, and the rest of the evening will be dedicated to feedback from three pre-selected community members, similar to the three jurors that would be selected for an official public inquest. Community discussions will round out the evening.
Family and friends of Andy continue to request an official public inquest into the shooting which was expected after the Fremont County Coroner at the time, Mark Stratmoen, released a statement with the following: “It is the policy of this office to convene a public inquest in the matter of any fatalities caused, or suspected to be caused, by any law enforcement agencies in this jurisdiction.”
In December 2019, Stratmoen released a statement that claimed his investigation had been obstructed and he was unable to obtain necessary information so the inquest was put on hold indefinitely.
“Without cooperation and complete information and witnesses to present to a jury, we cannot adequately and objectively present the case,” his statement reads.
This came a few days after Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick LeBrun released his office’s determinations and conclusions document about the incident which explained the officer’s actions were justified given the circumstances. His release also said an inquest “can serve no purpose” since the legal determination of the officer’s culpability had already been made.