Jury in Narragansett criminal case visits smoke shop

Charlestown, Rhode Island (AP) 3-08

A jury in the trial of seven Narragansetts arrested during a state police raid on a tribal smoke shop has visited the site where the conflict occurred.

The 16-person jury was seated Feb. 27. They went to Charlestown in the afternoon, walking through the now-vacant shop to get a sense of the place.

Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, the tribe’s leader, and six others were arrested in July 2003 when police raided a tribal smoke shop that was not collecting state taxes. The defendants are charged with misdemeanor crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to assault.

During the visit, lawyers pointed out the distance between the parking lot and the entrance of the smoke shop.

Opening statements are were expected Feb. 29 in Superior Court in Providence, and the trial is expected to last a month.