Smoke Shop Confrontation
Review panel meets today for first time
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Gov. Don Carcieri told an independent panel reviewing the raid on the Narragansett Indian Tribe's smoke shop that he instructed state police to pull back if they
encountered ``significant resistance'' from tribal members.
When the committee asked the governor what ``significant resistance'' meant, he said he left the actual plan for the raid up to state police, since they have expertise in executing search
Attorney General Patrick Lynch says a two-day delay in a police raid on an Indian-run smoke shop may have contributed to a violent confrontation.
Lynch said today he was pushing through the weekend before the July 14th raid for state police to shut down the tax-free business on the Narragansett Indians' land. Governor Carcieri spent the
weekend investigating other options.
Lynch told an independent review panel that the delay may have heightened the likelihood of resistance. Several tribal members were arrested after a brief, violent confrontation.
Carcieri also testified, along with State police Colonel Steven Pare.
The governor said he instructed police to pull back if they met (quote) ``significant resistance'' but says the actual plan was left up to the state police.
Pare doesn't believe police faced a level of resistance that warranted pulling back.Col. Steven Pare, the superintendent of the state police, testified that the police did not meet what Pare would call significant resistance from tribal members.
The six-member panel, formed by Carcieri, plans to interview at least 60 people as it investigates last month's raid on a smoke shop run by the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The committee has no
deadline, at the request of its chairwoman, Brown University President Ruth Simmons.
``This work is so important and so sensitive, we ought not to establish any arbitrary date by which we will finish,'' Simmons told The Associated Press. The goal, she said, is to ``try to
understand better what happened and ... try to think of a way to go forward.''
Carcieri has asked the panel to assess his role and that of the attorney general, among others.
Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who was also scheduled to testify on Tuesday, sharply criticized the Republican governor for suggesting the Rhode Island State Police didn't follow his orders.
Carcieri has denied that he was trying to avoid blame when he said he had told the state police to withdraw if they met resistance.
The raid turned violent when police met resistance, and several tribe members were arrested.
An internal state police review found troopers acted appropriately in conducting the raid.
Simmons has experience reviewing police actions.
The former head of Princeton University's African-American Studies Department says she led a study of whether ethnicity played a role in traffic stops by campus police.
She's now heading a Rhode Island committee that includes Rabbi Leslie Gutterman, retired Superior Court Justice Eugene Gallant, American Red Cross of Rhode Island Executive Director Barbara McGann, the Rev. Matthew Kai and Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.
Johnson was added after Narragansett Indian Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas said he was disappointed that the panel did not include an American Indian representative.
Simmons says she was among those who urged Carcieri to add someone familiar with American Indian affairs.
``When we talk about a review of these kind of circumstances, having a peer review is absolutely essential,'' she said. ``When you look through an ethnic lens you're always seeing things a
She also wants anyone with information on the raid to contact the committee.
The state views the tax-free smoke shop as an illegal business. The tribe believes it had the right to run the shop, since closed, without state approval.
The matter is being discussed in federal court.