Members of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino Tribal Police Force are seeking legal claims against Madera County. There were 14 claims filed, resulting from the arrest of 15 police members during their raid on the resort casino’s offices on October 9, 2014. The claims filed in mid-April 2015 state the members were falsely arrested and then jailed when they tried to reclaim the casino gaming office from an opposing tribal faction.
An ex-district attorney, Michael Keitz, and Madera County Sheriff, John Anderson, are two individuals named in the claims filed by the tribal police force. Prosecutor Nicholas Fogg was also named in the claim. The document states the officials were involved in malicious prosecution as well as civil rights violations. Each claimant is seeking $1 million in damages.
Madera County Judge Dale Blea on Friday upheld charges against the group – including kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and other crimes. At the hearing the judge said, “Even if some of the defendants were acting as officers of the legitimate tribal government, they cannot use the doctrine of sovereign immunity as a criminal defense against criminal prosecution for the violation of state laws. Equally clear is the role that peace officers may be prosecuted when they effect arrests by the use of unreasonable force.”
According to report in the Fresno Bee, 10 of the men were hired as police before the raid and came from Arizona, California, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino remains closed.