Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Excessive Force

About two years ago, Rhode Island television was flooded with the images of state troopers forcibly removing Narragansett Indians from Narragansett land. The purpose was to close down a 'smoke shop'. Yesterday, a federal jury convicted one of the troopers for using excessive force.(link) The award: $301,100 to Jennings and finally vindication for the pain and suffering stemming from that day. No matter what you think of the legality of the smoke shop, if you were awake during that summer you knew that the tribe was battling with the state over this issue. Again, the reason for opening the smoke shop wasn't to take advantage of their status as a sovereign nation, but to help themselves. The governor, however, felt a compelling interest to make sure that smoke shop was shutdown. I feel sorry for the trooper who was placed 'in harm's way' by an administration who time and again forgets about the people in order to enforce policy.


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