Jeremiah Janis, 1980-2019. Photo by Native Sun News Today

Native Sun News Today: Native man dies after incident with police officers

Unanswered questions on death boxing coach
Weeks before release of autopsy

RAPID CITY— It has been two weeks since the tragic passing of Rapid City Boxing Coach Jeremiah Janis.

Almost every one of the questions, what happened, why was he there, why did he die, how did he die, remain unanswered. A call by Native Sun News to Rapid City Police Department Media Relations contact, Brendyn Medina, was very cooperative and forthright, but Medina said that the autopsy report determinations won’t be available for weeks and that detectives had yet to determine most of the disturbing specifics.

Those who knew Janis, knew him as a man of compassion and candor, who had survived a youth of hard knocks, to be a mentor to over fifty boys in the Rapid City boxing program. His people skills, his knowledge of the fight game, his deep connection to the underprivileged and marginalized, made him order made to take over from Eddie Martinez as the next generation leader for Rapid City boxing.

Janis was frank about his troubled past, but it was easy to spot the relationship he had with his fighters, and the skill with which he sharpened their skills.

What we do know is that, about a block and a half from the boxing gym, at the corner of Maple and Omaha, Janis had an altercation with a vehicle. Medina said there did not appear to be a connection between Janis and the occupants of the vehicle. Conflict escalated.

It eventually spilled over a few blocks north, to the Avanti Motel, where Janis is alleged to have entered a room, and been forced from it by the occupant, who was wielding a baseball bat, which the police report alleges he struck Janis with, several times.

The police told the media that Janis was in a state of “excited delirium,” that he would not comply with officer commands, and had to be “pepper-sprayed and Tasered in order to bring him safely into custody.”


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James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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