Race, history at issue in Narragansett case

Members of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island are seeking to introduce evidence of historical racism and discrimination as they head to trial for the state's raid of the reservation.

On July 14, 2003, state troopers stormed the reservation and shut down a smokeshop that was selling tax-free tobacco products. Seven tribal members, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, were arrested on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assault.

The trial was put on hold as the tribe challenged the legality of the raid. After two hearings, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals said the state was within its rights.

The state then moved to prosecute the seven tribal members, who have asked the trial to be moved out of southern Rhode Island. They say they won't receive a fair trial due to historic mistreatment of the tribe. They also want to introduce reports that refer to the state's repeated attempts to break up and terminate the tribe.

Get the Story:
Racial Issues Raised In Smokeshop Case (AP 7/12)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe -

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