Nine officers of the Chuckchansi tribal police have filed six lawsuits in the U.S. District Court in Fresno against Madera County, over an October 2014 raid on an office that resulted in the Chuckchansi Gold Resort and Casino’s closure for more than a year.
Citing charges of malicious prosecution, arrests without probable cause, false arrests, economic losses, emotional distress and excessive bail, the tribal officers are seeking restitutions.
One of the named defendants, however, remains confident that complaints against him, and against his prosecutor, will be dropped shortly.
“They threw my name, and they threw Nick Fogg’s name in. If you read the complaint, which I have done, there is no cause of action stated against Mr. Fogg, or myself,” said Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn. “So I believe those complaints will be rapidly dismissed by the federal court as soon as the paperwork is filed.”
Linn, and his deputy Nick Fogg were both named in the lawsuit. The charges in question, however, were filed by Linn’s predecessor, District Attorney Michael Keitz. Linn defeated Keitz in the district attorney election shortly after.
Linn has also stated that he and Fogg worked to resolve the case as quickly as possible in the hopes that the people working at the casino could return to work.
“When I became District Attorney, I expended a lot of my time, and my deputy’s time on getting this resolved so that we could ultimately get that casino opened up, so that we could get jobs in Madera County,” Linn said. “And now a year later, the price of being in public office is you’re a target in a lawsuit.”
The tribal police were charged with 27 felony counts, which included false imprisonment and kidnapping. Homes of the defendants, according to the lawsuit, were lost, and families were broken up.
Due to the seriousness of the charges, the bail reached in excess of $1 million for some.
The raid came after a dispute between two tribal factions, led by Tex McDonald and Reggie Lewis, and resulted in the tribal police of McDonald’s group carrying out a detainment on the security team employed by the rival faction. A fight broke out after the detained members of the rival faction were released in the casino parking lot by deputies.
The purpose of the raid, according to McDonald’s faction, was to gain access to information regarding federal audits that hadn’t been filed in two years.
The casino was shut down shortly after the incident. According to the lawsuit, an advance notice was given to Keitz regarding the raid by tribal police.
“It has been emotionally distressing, an absolute nightmare,” John Cayenne, a former Chuckchansi officer told the Fresno Bee. “This has caused divorces, losses of homes, affected clearances and employment capability.”
Keitz has also been named in the lawsuit, along with former Sheriff John Anderson.