Judge dismisses Narragansett lawsuit over smoke shop raid 4-18-07

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe against Gov. Don Carcieri for a raid of a tribal smoke shop nearly four years ago.

State troopers raided the smoke shop on July 14, 2003, just two days after it opened, because the tribe was allegedly selling tax-free tobacco.

The Narragansett said in their lawsuit, filed in July 2006, that the raid violated their constitutional rights. They argue that the tribe was immune from state authority because it is recognized by the federal government.

But U.S. District Judge William Smith dismissed the case Wednesday, saying the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston had already ruled that Rhode Island authorities had the authority to enforce state law on an Indian reservation.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case last year.

The lawsuit named as defendants Carcieri, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, the then-superintendent of the state police and multiple state troopers and detectives.

Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal called Smith's ruling inevitable given the ruling from the federal appeals court.

John F. Killoy Jr., a lawyer for the tribe, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Several tribal members, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, face criminal charges in Superior Court for allegedly scuffling with state troopers during the raid in Charlestown. They have pleaded not guilty.