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 Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation


KBIC Tribal Police Affidavit's


The following is a copy of 3 former tribal police members who wrote affidavits for tribal court.

AFFIDAVIT


Warren Christian Swartz, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

  1. I was a tribal police officer with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community for approximately five years. I attained the rank of ranking sergeant and held that rank until I was laid off from the police force on May 24, 1996.

  2. The group Fight For Justice took over the old tribal center on August 21, 1995. After the take-over I perceived a marked change in the prosecution of cases on the reservation. The prosecution of cases became politicized and selective in that primarily members of FFJ would be singled out for prosecution. Members of the political elite - Tribal Chairman Fred Dakota's political friends and allies were not prosecuted. We knew that we the police were not supposed to touch certain people no matter what they might do. We had explicit orders, for example, coming directly from the Tribal Chair, Fred Dakota not to "touch Pete Morin. " In addition, I could not arrest, no matter what the circumstances Fred Dakota, Isadore "Blue" Misigan, Amy St. Arnold, and Wayne Swartz. I was personally told by Fred Dakota and Wayne Swartz at different times that I was not to arrest these individuals.

  3. One time during the winter of 1995-6 we received a bomb threat down at Fred Dakota's gas station. Fred had telephone tap and a caller i.d. Officer Joe LaBeau went down and investigated. He reported to me in the ordinary course of police business, that Fred had received a bomb threat. LaBeau looked at the telephone number and was able to determining that the phone call was placed from inside the Casino. He found the telephone, received the surveillance tapes that constantly monitored the phone and found that the only person who had used the phone during the relevant time period was a Guardian Angel. He told me, as his superior officer and I told him to make a report because it appeared that we had the person red-handed. We submitted the report but the Tribal Prosecutor, Joseph O'Leary, never prosecuted the matter.

  4. In my position as ranking sergeant I was privy to many more instances where persons connected with Tribal Chair Fred Dakota were not prosecuted even though the tribal police were able to establish probable cause to prosecute. I do know that the Tribal Prosecutor would not prosecute certain individuals connected with Fred Dakota. On the other hand, members of Fight For Justice were singled out for special attention. We were told to stop anyone who came out of the compound (take-over site) where Fight For Justice members came and went. We were to stop people with tribal plates even where we lacked probable cause (or any cause at all for that matter). We were told specifically to harass members of FFJ and to find anything that we could on them and to give citations to them in all cases no matter the circumstances.

  5. In my opinion, as a police officer who was until 24 May 1996 the ranking sergeant in the department, the prosecution of laws on the reservation have been selectively enforced. Members of the croup Fight For Justice have been singled out for prosecution, harassment, and have been stopped and intimidated on direct orders of the Tribal Chair and Don Chosa (who was the Captain of the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Police).
Signed
Warren Christian Swartz

Subscribed and sworn to before me on 8/10/96
Signed
Notary Public, Houghton County
My Commission expires 8/19/99



AFFIDAVIT


Donald Thomas Shalifoe, Sr., being duly sworn deposes and says:

  1. I was a part-time tribal police officer with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community from 20 September 1991 until 25 September 1995 when I became a full-time officer for KBIC. I was laid off from the force on 24 May 1996. I was promoted to the rank of corporal with the force on 18 February 1996 which carried with it a pay raise. My promotion was given as a result of taking a test administered by then police chief Serafini to several tribal police officer. I received the highest grade on the test.

  2. The group Fight For Justice took over the old tribal center on 21 August 1995. After the take-over I perceived a marked change in the prosecution of cases on the reservation. The prosecution of cases became politicized and selective in that primarily members of FFJ would be singled out for prosecution. Members of the political elite - Tribal Chairman Fred Dakota's political friends and allies were not prosecution. Fred Dakota ordered a fellow police officer and myself to leave Pete Morin and his so-called "Guardian Angels" alone and to end the investigation into their illegal conduct. We had to give an illegal gun with 90 rounds back to a guardian angel and were not permitted to prosecute the case. His words were: "you leave them fucking people alone, they are police officers." They, of course were not police officers, had no permit for the guns. Pete Morin is and was working directly for Fred Dakota and the Tribal council and his job was to harass and intimidate the members of Fight For Justice and other political opponents of Fred Dakota. We were essentially told to overlook Pete Morin and his Guardian Angels illegal conduct and to allow them to intimidate and harass tribal citizens.

  3. "Indian Joe" who was a Guardian Angel had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Fred Dakota's son, Dale Dakota, who was a sergeant on the Tribal Police force, approached him while he was on his post but did not arrest him. Dale made a deal with him to show up Monday to take care of the warrant. Every other warrant for an arrest was duly processed. Had he not been a member of the Guardian Angels or Fred Dakota's political elite he would have been arrested on the warrant and processed in the usual way. And if the warrant had been on a member of Fight For Justice not only would he or she been arrested but they would have been held and bond would have been much higher than that of any other criminal defendants.

  4. All officers knew and talked about the fact that there were certain people on the reservation who were above the law. No matter what they do or what crimes they might commit we knew that we could not arrest Fred Dakota, Isadore "Blue" Misigan, Amy St. Arnold, and Wayne Swartz as well as Pete Morin and all of his Guardian Angels who happened to be Indian and thus within the jurisdiction of Tribal Police.

  5. I personally had statements from at least four credible ex-Guardian Angels establishing that Pete Morin had given false information to a police officer. Pete Morin had told the Tribal Police that Jim Van Able (an FFJ supporter) had thrown a rock at Pete's car. We were able to establish that the event could not have happened the way that Pete reported it and that Pete had falsely made up the story because he wanted to eliminate Jim Van Able who had been causing problems to the Guardian Angels. Pete also tried to force one of his employees, Terrence Moore, to back-up Pete's false statement. We were in a position to prove this and I personally told the Assistant Tribal Prosecutor. He wanted to inform the Tribal Council, which, in my opinion would only have served to have warned Pete Morin of the investigation. The Tribal Prosecutor's office failed and refused to prosecute this case even though there was ample evidence of guilt.

  6. I also was able to establish that most if not all of the violence on the reservation traced directly to Pete Morin and his Guardian Angels. They regularly set off firecrackers in the vicinity of the take-over site to "stir things up." The prosecutors were informed of this and they failed or refused to take any action. They harassed FFJ members and stirred-up trouble. At one point we were investigating embezzlement and fraud charges against Mr. Morin. I and the other police officers who were attempting to investigate Morin were laid off. I belief that a part of the motivation for laying us off was to stop all investigation of Mr. Morin.

  7. Once I went to a teen drinking party and broke it up. I would ordinarily have just left it at that. But since it was held at an FFJ house I had to bring charges. We had been told that every infraction by FFJ had to be prosecuted even if it were a situation where we would have ordinarily used officers discretion to issue a warning. It was early in the evening, the boys had only had one beer, and we would ordinarily have issued a warning but for the identity of the juvenile. Don Chosa had previously told us that we could no longer issue warnings to members of FFJ but had to issue citations or arrest.

  8. I started an investigation into a missing and presumed stolen television set that was later found at J&L Pawn shop owned by Dakota supporter Jeff Lamson. I questioned a suspect Danny Alexander who was an FFJ member. At that point Fred Dakota's son, Dale Dakota (who is a tribal police officer) took over the investigation. Jeff Lamson was improperly allowed to keep the stolen property until Lamson had recouped the money from Alexander. Thus, the owner of a pawn shop got to keep contraband solely because he was a Dakota supporter. This is poor police work. Ordinarily, stolen property or other contraband is confiscated as evidence and held by the police. The police feel that they will lose their jobs unless they favor Dakotas supporters and come down hard on FFJ members.

  9. At one point I was directly ordered to abort an investigation of Pete Morin and his Guardian Angels. Police Captain Don Chosa told me to "leave those people alone over there [referring to the Guardian Angels]. I know that it is a shitty situation, but that is what the Council wants and that is what they will get." At the time he had one of my reports in his hand concerning the Guardian Angels and was reading it. Several other officers were in the room and heard this. So we were directly ordered to not enforce the laws on the reservation as to the Guardian Angels. And it appeared that the Guardian Angels were directly attacking, intimidating, harassing FFJ members. So we were unable to keep law and order or even peace on the reservation because its most violent thugs, the Guardian Angels, were off limits to law enforcement. Almost every police officer has been heard to say that we could not keep the peace on the reservation because of the Guardian Angels.

  10. At one point I was investigating a report that Pete Morin was putting out a contract on Jim Van Able's life, had paid someone to shoot automatic weapons fire at or near the takeover site, and was willing to pay to have someone shoot at the old tribal center with a bonus going to the perpetrator for anyone who was hit by the automatic weapons fire. I reported this to the prosecutor's office (as a part of my disclosures set out in 5 above). I also alerted the FBI and the criminal investigator of the BIA and Captain Chosa. No one else knew about it. Somehow the word of this investigation got back to Fred Dakota and Pete Morin. Later Agent Steve Miller of the FBI asked me what was wrong with the tribal Police. He said that the FBI would have been close to gathering enough evidence on Morin for a prosecution but for the leaks coming out of the police department. I believe that one of the reason why I was laid-off was that I was too close to proving that Morin was committing major felonies that would have shut him down.

  11. It is my understanding that other police officers had the same experience. It was common knowledge that we could not bring charges against certain "politically correct" persons. On the other hand, every minor violation by any of the Fight For Justice members was vigorously pursued - we were ordered to pursue every perceived violation no matter how minor. Moreover, were ordered to stop all members of FFJ who came and went at the take-over site regardless of whether we had any cause for making the stop.


Signed
Donald Thomas Shaifoe, - Sr.

Subscribed and sworn to before me on 16 August 1996
Signed
My commission expires 19 August 1999.




AFFIDAVIT


Patrick Lee LaPointe, being duly sworn deposes and says:

  1. I was a tribal police officer from September 1995 until I was fired on 29 May 1996 when I refused to participate in the Tribal Police action in tear-gassing the take-over compound where the Fight For Justice members were given sanctuary by the Catholic Church. I and one other police officer refused to participate in this raid because we feared that it would lead to unnecessary violence. Three other officers had been laid off 24 May 1996 in part because they too would have refuse to assault the compound.

  2. I was doing an investigation on Pete Morin and the Guardian Angels. I and other officers were told by Captain Don Chosa that we had to leave Pete and his Guardian Angels alone. He said "I know that it is a sifitty situation, but that is what the council wants." We were doing an investigation on Pete but it went nowhere. I was in the process of doing this investigation when I was transferred out of the community and then was later fired. There was never any prosecution.

  3. We knew that there were certain people who were above the law and that even if we were to bring charge it would go nowhere. We also were ordered to follow and harass members of FFJ and to stop any vehicle leaving the compound regardless of whether or not we had any cause.

  4. In my opinion, based on personal experience, and discussions with other tribal police officers, the laws at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community were selectively enforced during the time in which I was a tribal police officer. Certain people were above the law and certain people (members of the political opposition - Fight For Justice) were targets for harassment and selective prosecution.


Signed
Patrick Lee LaPointe

Subscribed and sworn to before me on 11 August 1996
Signed
My commission expires 19 August 1996.

To read a brief summary of FFJ and it's begining read Tina Lam's Detorit Free Press article

Copyright 2001 by Rose Edwards. All Rights Reserved.