Appeals court rejects Narragansett raid suit
Members of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island can't sue state troopers for raiding the reservation on July 14, 2003, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.

Troopers went to the reservation to shut down smokeshop that was selling tobacco products without state tax stamps. They arrested seven tribal members -- including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas and two council members -- in a violent clash that was captured by television cameras.

The tribal members said the raid violated their civil rights. But the 1st Circuit said the lawsuit was based on "vague" claims that the plaintiffs failed to raise in a lower court.

The raid was eventually upheld as legal because the 1st Circuit, in another lawsuit, ruled that all state laws apply on the reservation.

Get the Story:
Appeals court rebuffs lawsuit filed by Narragansetts against state police (The Providence Journal 9/25)

1st Circuit Decision:
Thomas v. Rhode Island (September 24, 2008)