« Judge may toss denial of Champlin's Marina expansion |
| Tonight: Exhibit on Iraq war at Pawtucket Armory »
March 20, 2008
Smoke-shop case: First account by tribal member
Journal photo / Mary Murphy
Hiawatha Brown, left, one of seven Narragansett Indians on trial in Providence Superior Court for assault and resisting arrest at the raid of the tribal smoke shop, looks at photos by Victoria Arocho, former Associated Press photographer, taken during the raid. Arocho testified for the defense today.
PROVIDENCE -- Jurors heard today from the first Narragansett Indian to take the stand about his account of the state police raid on tax-free smoke shop the tribe opened in July 2003.
Tribal Administrator Anthony Dean Stanton testified in the 14th day of trial for seven Narragansetts accused of scuffling with and resisting state police as they executed a search and seizure warrant on the store on tribal land in Charlestown.
Stanton learned at a tribal assembly meeting the tribe would open the smoke shop as a money-making venture, he said. As the administrator of tribal programs, he worked with the planning department to clear the land and set up the roadside trailer on Route 2. He was aware Governor Carcieri opposed its opening, but said he didn’t know why.
The tribe began selling cigarettes without charging Rhode Island taxes, against the governor’s wishes, July 12, 2003. A day later a state trooper drove onto the property and spoke briefly with a tribal police officer, he said.
Around noon the next day, Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas told him state police might be on their way. Thomas instructed him, Stanton said, that the tribe would shut the operation down, if they received a federal cease and desist order. There was no mention of how the tribe would respond to an order issued by a state court.
Stanton was among a number of Narragansetts standing roadside as state police arrived.
About 15 to 20 stormed the parking lot, he said, pushing and shoving people as they went. He heard three people, including Thomas, ask officers for paperwork. “I never heard a response,” he said.
At Carcieri’s orders, state police were executing a search and seizure warrant issued by state District Court to stop the tribe from selling tax-free cigarettes. The raid turned into a scuffling match. Seven Narragansetts are on trial for charges that include resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault.
-- Journal staff writer Katie Mulvaney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:38 PM | Permalink
Post a comment
Please be civil. Vicious comments, personal attacks and profanity won't be published. Name and email are required; email address will not publish.