Column: Narragansett Tribe attacked troopers

"It happened on July 14, 2003. The Narragansetts had opened a shop selling cigarettes without charging the hefty state tax, claiming it didn’t apply on tribal land. They were warned repeatedly but wouldn’t budge. So state troopers were sent to close the place.

The troopers moved in and, suddenly, people were being choked and thrown around. Many called it an outrage. As far as I could tell, there was one problem with that.

At first, the people being shoved and choked were not Indians. They were troopers.

The Narragansetts say it wasn’t their fault. They say the police stormed in aggressively. It was all caught by TV cameramen, and later, the troopers were creamed on talk shows. Some accused them of Gestapo tactics.

The police may well have come aggressively onto the scene, but they didn’t start the violence. The Narragansetts did by resisting.

They say they had no choice but to protect their tribal land.

Of course they had a choice. They could have done what most law-abiding citizens would do, which would be to cooperate, even if grudgingly so, and fight it in court later.

Who attacks cops when they come to arrest you?"

Get the Story:
Mark Patinkin: This is justice? People resist arrest and troopers must pay (The Providence Journal 3/11)

Excessive Force Decision:
Jennings v. Pare (March 7, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe -

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