Judge drops assault charge against tribal police officer

Providence, Rhode Island (AP) 3-08

A Superior Court judge has dismissed an assault charge against a tribal police officer arrested when state police raided a Narragansett smoke shop in 2003.

Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl’s ruling clears tribal police officer Thawn Harris of a misdemeanor assault count. He still faces a second count for resisting arrest.

Harris and six other defendants were arrested for allegedly scuffling with state police during a July 2003 raid on the shop run by the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The shop was not collecting state taxes.

McGuirl dismissed the charge on a technicality. She says prosecutors charged Harris with assaulting the wrong state trooper. By the time the error was discovered, it was too late to file new charges.

McGuirl’s decision came just before the defense began calling its witnesses.