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Nebraska Native American Activist, Frank LaMere Dies

A longtime Democratic activist who spent his life fighting for Native American causes in Nebraska has died. Frank LaMere’s son says the 69-year-old died Sunday after a bout with cancer.

LaMere was known nationally for his decades-long effort to close four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, that were blamed for alcohol-related problems on the neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Regulators shuttered the stores in 2017.

He also was a prominent critic of the Omaha Police Department’s handling of Zachary BearHeels, a mentally ill Native American man who died in 2017 after officers punched and shocked him with a Taser.

LaMere served on the Democratic National Committee from 1996 through 2009 and was a delegate for multiple party conventions. He was a member of the American Indian Movement.