Law

Narragansett leader alleges racial bias in smoke shop case





A leader of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island is seeking to reverse his conviction on charges related to the state's July 2003 raid of the reservation.

Hiawatha Brown, a council member, was convicted of simple assault and disorderly conduct. He argues that he should have been allowed to challenge alleged racial bias among some jurors.

The state raided the reservation to shut down a smoke shop. The incident was filmed by television cameras and broadcast across the nation.

The federal courts ruled that the state was within its rights due to a land claim settlement that subjected the reservation to state jurisdiction.

Get the Story:
Narragansett Indian appeals 2003 smoke-shop raid convictions to high court (The Providence Journal 1/24)
Tribe member appeals conviction in RI smoke shop case (AP 1/24)