Author Topic: TROOPERS IN MIDDLE OF TAX DISPUTE  (Read 172 times)

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TROOPERS IN MIDDLE OF TAX DISPUTE
« on: January 13, 2018, 07:23:34 AM »
The highest-ranking trooper in Western New York, Maj. Pedro Perez, has been on sick leave for nine days with knee and shoulder injuries sustained when demonstrators roughed him up in an April 20 incident on the Cattaraugus Reservation.

At least 35 arrests have been made on four local reservations. Dozens came from as far away as New York City and Long Island. Troopers are routinely working 12-hour shifts, and sometimes up to 70 hours in a week.

No official estimate has been made of the expenses, but police said taxpayers will be paying for thousands of hours of overtime, plus hotel and food expenses for the extra troopers.

Troopers said in interviews this week that they are constantly on edge and anxious for the tax dispute to be settled Cheap Cigarettes For Sale Online.

"It's been a difficult time. I think our people are handling it well, but it does affect them emotionally," said Capt. Michael F. McManus, acting commander of Troop A. "It's frustrating to be looked at as the bad guy when you're just doing your job. We're just following our marching orders.

"I think some people on the reservation understand that, but unfortunately, we're the ones who are there, representing the state. To a lot of the Indians, the state government is way off in the sky somewhere in Albany. We feel like they're displacing their anger toward us."

McManus, who was injured along with Perez, said he and other troopers have worked hard to restrain themselves from reacting violently against the demonstrators.

"When Perez and I were hurt, it was like a giant gang fight. I saw a sergeant down on the ground -- people were trying to strangle him," McManus said. "Then a woman squirted some kind of caustic solution into my eyes. We think it was some kind of bleach. I was blinded for 15 minutes.

"I was flailing around, people were grabbing and punching at me. I felt people grabbing for my gun. I got knocked over a guard rail. Two troopers helped me away and washed the stuff out of my eyes. It was a helpless feeling -- one of the worst things that has happened to me in 20 years as a trooper . . . I'll admit this to you, I was concerned for my life."

Two other captains and eight other troopers were also injured in that melee. Seneca Nation officials said 18 Indians and supporters were injured.

McManus, 47, has had to keep in mind what he has been telling other troopers over the past few weeks.

"We're telling them not to overreact, that we're stuck in the middle of a political situation, and we can't take it personally," he said. "We've seen people at these demonstrations with video cameras. They will bait you, taunt you, and hope you will overreact, so they can get it on tape."

Although State Police insist they have used great restraint over the past five weeks, they have been criticized at times by Indian leaders. Several Seneca activists said State Police touched off the April 20 confrontation by coming onto reservation property during a peaceful demonstration.

The police presence on Indian lands in recent weeks has been "excessive," and that has created hard feelings, according to Susan P. Abrams, a tribal councilor and executive assistant to Seneca Nation President Michael Schindler.

Most of the recent arrests have been on the Senecas' Cattaraugus Reservation, and Ms. Abrams Tuesday blamed State Police for at least some of the problems.

"We are a sovereign nation Buy Discount Cigarettes, and the State Police should only be coming onto the reservation for criminal investigations. A demonstration is not worthy of a criminal investigation Newport Cigarettes For Sale," Ms. Abrams said.

"While the nation was under siege, the troopers used extreme measures in an attempt to maintain law and order, to the tune of violating all our civil rights to have ingress and egress within our territorial boundaries Cigarettes Online Store.

"After Maj. Perez got injured, the State Police got very antogonistic toward our people. It was like they wanted payback. It was in the way they talked to people, and they were beating people up when they arrested them.

"We realize the State Police are in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation, because they take their orders from (Gov.) Pataki. But we also feel they have gone overboard at times."

State Police officials said they are unaware of any police brutality incidents during the recent problems on the reservations.

Not everyone in law enforcement thinks State Police commanders handled the April 20 situation well. A police supervisor from another area agency said Perez should have picked a neutral spot to talk, allowing one representative from each side, rather than venturing near the protesters with other members of his staff.

McManus said State Police did the best they could that day with a difficult situation. He said they only went to the reservation because they were worried about the safety of 10 motorists whose vehicles had been stopped and surrounded by about 1,000 demonstrators.

"I would say about 40 percent of the demonstrators out that day were not Indians Newports Cigarettes Price," McManus said. "Some were people who genuinely support the Indian cause and feel the Indians have been treated badly. Some were just drunk or looking for trouble. Some were fringe protest groups. Some were people who want to be able to keep buying cheap gas and cigarettes on the reservations."

Ms. Abrams said a number of troopers have privately told tribe members that they support the Indians in their tax dispute.

Several troopers interviewed this week said they have mixed feelings on the issue, but they added that their actions are governed by their police duty, rather than politics.

McManus said many troopers told him they do have sympathy for the Indians, but not necessarily for those who have become wealthy selling gasoline and cigarettes.

While he respects the Indians' right to demonstrate peacefully, McManus said he and other troopers will continue to respond to tire fires, road closings, and demonstrations where public safety is a concern.
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