Police Sued Over Smoke-Shop Raid

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Police Sued Over Smoke-Shop Raid

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Three employees working inside a Narragansett Smoke Shop at the time of a state police raid filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Rhode Island State Police, the Chariho Times reported.

Narragansett Tribal councilwoman Paulla Dove Jennings, her son Adam, and Keith Huertas, manager of the smoke shop were all inside the South County Trail store when state troopers raided the property and the trailer that housed the smoke shop. According to the suit filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence by Michael Bradley, a Westerly, R.I.-based attorney, the family and Huertas are charging that the state police did not identify themselves and failed to show a search warrant during the raid, the report stated.

The suit is being filed against Col. Steven Pare, who serves as the head of the state police, and five unidentified officers. Bradley said that the three employees are looking for unspecified damages and a jury trial.

On Tuesday, Adam Jennings explained why he was going forward with this action.

"What they did to me was wrong," Jennings said in the Times report. "What they did in the shop was different from outside."

Jennings added that the troopers who responded inside the smoke shop used too much force. "They roughed me up, they roughed my mom up, they roughed Keith up," Jennings said. "They had no reason to arrest me. They basically just got me up and jumped me."

After the raid Jennings was on crutches to help him with a broken ankle he suffered during the altercation with state police, the report stated.

The July 14 raid took place after the smoke shop had been open for two full days. Governor Carcieri ordered the raid on the Narragansett's land after discussions to reach a compromise between the state and the tribe were found to be unsuccessful, according to the report.

A ruling by U.S. Federal District Court Judge William Smith is expected by the end of the year to determine the legality of the Narragansett's smoke shop.