Editorial: Find some peace over shooting of Ramapough man
"The case is closed. After more than four years, the public and the Ramapough Indian tribe have an official account of what happened on April 1, 2006, the day Emil Mann was fatally shot by a state park police officer in Mahwah. The last of three criminal cases in Superior Court in Hackensack concluded this week.

Hours of testimony have revealed disturbing details of how a routine police visit, intended to curb illegal riding of all-terrain vehicles on state parkland, turned deadly. And it has painted a sorry picture of the fragile relationship between tribe members and police.

On that day, tribe members gathered at Stag Hill for a cookout. First, Harold Dennison encountered police while riding an ATV and carrying a revolver and knife. He was arrested by police on weapons offenses.

Later, Lt. Kelly Gottheiner stopped tribe member Otis Mann on his ATV and used pepper spray when he refused to put his hands behind his back. He attacked her. As fellow officer Chad Walder rushed to Gottheiner's aid, tribe member Emil Mann allegedly lunged toward him. Walder shot Mann, who died nine days later.

The outcry was immense, prompting fiery remembrances of the official disregard visited upon the Ramapoughs, including Ford's dumping of toxic paint sludge near their homes and its unsuccessful cleanup effort in the 1990s. Gottheiner and Walker retired from the force. Then-Gov. Jon Corzine visited Stag Hill and formed a committee on Native American affairs. Ford began a more robust cleanup. A mass tort suit advanced; a settlement is pending."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Finding peace (The Bergen Record 5/19)

Also Today:
Ramapough admits beating up ranger in Mahwah (The Bergen Record 5/17)

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