Leader of tribal faction arrested outside meeting held by Narragansett chief sachem

Leader of tribal faction arrested outside meeting held by Narragansett chief sachem

Record-Journal
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A scuffle resulting in one arrest broke out at the Narragansett Tribal Office on Route 2 Saturday when a faction that identifies itself as the rightfully elected tribal council tried to enter the building during a meeting led by Matthew Thomas, the current chief sachem.

“There was a list of people who the tribe wanted to keep out,” Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen said Saturday. “A couple of ladies were out front at a table but we had Charlestown police and tribal police with them to make sure no one gave them a hard time.”

Allen said that Domingo Monroe, of Warwick, who is the elected chief of the group opposing Thomas, “got upset and tried to push his way through the checkpoint.”

A tribal police officer shot Monroe with a stun gun and he was arrested on a charge of simple assault on a tribal officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, Allen said. Monroe was then taken to South County Hospital in Wakefield for removal of the “taser” probes, as a matter of police policy, Allen said. He was transferred back to the Charlestown police station, processed and released with a summons.

A few other people were turned away from the meeting without incident, Allen said.

The police chief said that Thomas had made a request through the tribal police Tuesday for an extra law enforcement presence during the meeting. In response, officers with the state police, tribal police, and the Charlestown police were at the tribal offices at 4533 South County Trail on Saturday.

“We were contacted by the tribal police asking for assistance for today. We had a couple of meetings with tribal police, with our own [officers] and the state police — we had operations planned and we were ready for any kind of situation that may take place,” Allen said. “We were prepared, we had our command post out front.”

The tribal dispute flared up in October when 38 tribal members voted to impeach Thomas and 200 others signed a petition for his impeachment, according to Bella Noka, tribal election chairwoman.

In December, Monroe’s group also occupied the tribal offices for several days because they said that the current council was illegally elected.

P.J. Fox III, executive director of the Providence-based Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, brokered an agreement that both groups signed on Dec. 26. The agreement included a stipulation, requested by Monroe’s group, that a federal mediator be brought in to help resolve the dispute over tribal elections, but no further information has become available.

Neither Monroe nor Thomas could not be reached for comment.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com


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