Narragansett smokeshop defendants head to trial

Seven members of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island are headed to trial for clashing with state troopers who raided a tribal smokeshop in July 2003.

The seven, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, face misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, obstruction and assault. They will be tried all at once even though the state tried to separate Thomas.

The tribal members say they were defending their rights when state troopers stormed the reservation. The clash was caught on television cameras, angering tribes nationwide.

Former state police Supt. Steven Pare will testify over the objections of the state. Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) also might be called to the stand.

The case was on hold while the tribe challenged the legality of the raid. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals eventually ruled that the state was within its rights to issue and execute a search warrant on the reservation, which is subject to state civil and criminal laws.

Get the Story:
Pare to testify on smoke-shop raid (The Providence Journal 7/31)
Smoke-shop defendants to be tried together (The Providence Journal 7/28)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe -

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