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Police Blotter: Man who slapped official finally arrested


It took Navajo Nation Police and FBI agents more than three months to track Derrick Begay down but on May 4 he was placed under arrest for striking a federal official in the face. The incident occurred near Shiprock High School on Jan. 22.

Two men, one a Navajo Police officer and the other an official for the BIA, neither of whom were identified by name in court records, were driving on a service road near the school when they came upon a car parked in the middle of the roadway.

They found an unidentified woman in the front passenger seat and Begay, 33, of Shiprock, in the driver’s seat. They also smelled the odor of marijuana from inside the vehicle. The BIA official walked up to the driver’s door and saw Begay slumped over the steering wheel. He opened the door and identified himself as “police.”

Begay did not respond so the official tapped him on the shoulder to wake him up. When he finally woke up, the official said he could tell he was intoxicated by his slurred speech.

He was asked for his identity and he replied “D” at first and then added “Derrique.” He was told to exit the vehicle but he refused. The command was repeated several times and each time Begay refused.

He finally replied “anything can be taken care of with money,” which prompted the BIA official to ask him if he was attempting to bribe a federal official. Begay reportedly replied, “No, but anything can be solved with money.” The BIA official then made several attempts to drag Begay out of the vehicle but he resisted, finally striking the official in the face with his open hand and knocking his glasses off.

The BIA official then drew his firearm and once again ordered Begay to get out of the vehicle. Instead of complying, Begay reportedly started his car and drove away at a high rate of speed. The officers got into their car and pursued Begay for 15 or 20 miles.

They said Begay drove recklessly at speeds as high as 100 mph, weaving in and out of traffic without any regard for the safety of others. It was during the morning and the officials reported heavy fog in some areas. They also reported seeing school buses on the road and because if these factors, they decided to drop out of the pursuit.

The police officer recognized the driver so for the past three months, several attempts were made to locate him without success until he was finally spotted and arrested on May 4. He is now in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s office in Albuquerque and waiting to be arraigned in federal court there.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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