MNN. April 10, 2008. If a bunch of guys tried to break a guy’s neck, is it attempted murder? If five or more guys grab someone who is just standing there, jump him and hit him over 30 times with wooden clubs, is it an assault? This is what happened on May 18th 1997 to the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois people who were invited guests to the private property of Andrew Jones at Onondaga Nation Territory near Syracuse New York.

The assaults were videotaped. What happened is undeniable. No charges were laid against the assailants. Why? They were New York State Troopers. Who got charged? 24 of the 80 listed Ongwehonwe victims of this brutal attack by over 130 members of New York State Police! When the charges against the Ongwehonwe, the original people of the land, went to court, they were all dropped. New York State had broken their own laws and international law by overstepping its authority on territory that they claim is supposed to be federally protected.

In 1997 Governor Pataki had made an illegal deal with the Onondaga Chiefs to collect taxes on our cigarettes and gas sales.

We objected and were meeting peacefully using our traditional protocol to resolve the issue. All of a sudden we were attacked by a swarm of NY State Troopers. The crimes of the cops were so obvious that “pro bono” ambulance chasing lawyers flocked around us encouraging us to sue for damages, “You people have an amazing case. You’ll win! Your rights to practice your beliefs and to speak and assemble freely were violated”.

So far not a single charge has been laid against the cops for their brutal violation of the law. This attack was well planned. The cops had photos one week before of the guys they wanted to capture.

Before the attacks no one who was targeted was told what the allegations against them were. When they descended on us, it didn’t matter what these people were doing. The cops just lit in and started beating everybody in their path. Others present were charged with blocking Highway 81, even though they were on private land at least 50 feet from the roadway in question.

The NYS Troopers were subsequently investigated, tried to have their case thrown out but lost at two levels. At this point they should be charged and tried for their crimes.

On October 2006 we were invited by the pro bono lawyer, Terrance Hoffman and Mr. Marello to Syracuse. We emphatically instructed them not to settle. When crimes are committed, the perpetrators have to be tried by the state.

According to the Two Row Wampum agreement, the colonial state is responsible for the behavior or misbehavior of its agents. In this case, the Troopers involved violated both the law of the colonial state, international law and the agreements with the Ongwehonwe.

On Wednesday April 9th 2008 we heard that a meeting was taking place at the federal court house in Syracuse between our lawyers and New York State lawyers before Judge George H. Lowe. Two of us went there. Our lawyer, Terrance Hoffman, angrily gave us a “What are you doing here?” look. None of the clients were supposed to be present because “this is strictly between lawyers”.

After sitting in the locked courtroom all day long, it turned out that Mr. Hoffman wanted to get paid $4.5 million by New York State for his legal fees and then he would endeavor to get the case dropped. Is it up to him? If there is equality before the law in the New York State, they have to put the Troopers on trial. This is the only way that justice can be seen to be done.

Even though Mr. Hoffman is supposed to be representing our interests, he argued against us. He threatened it would cost another $2 – $3 million to have a 4 to 6 month trial. Judge Lowe remarked, “Well, we don’t want that” and laughed. In other words, 11 years of stress suffered by those of us who were targeted is being swept under New York States big dirty rug. Various members of the legal profession were conspiring together to profit from our pain and suffering. $4.5 million for the lawyer! No justice for the client! Is this what they call “pro bono”? This is turning into a big scam on the Ongwehonwe and the honest citizens of New York State.

This “wheeling and dealing” revealed a consistent pattern of disregard for the laws and trying to get away with the most heinous crimes against us. The following complaint was emailed and sent by registered mail on April 10th 2008 to the New York State Bar Association:

“Kathryn Grant Madigan, President
New York State Bar Association, 1 Elk St., Albany, N.Y. 12207 318-463-3200 %Andrew R. Bush, Director,

“Re: Andrew Jones et al vs McMahon et al, New York State Police, May 18, 1997 Incident, Onondaga Nation Territory, Docket Nos. 05-1830-cv [L] & 05-2035-cv [XAP]

“Dear Mrs. Madigan:

“On May 18, 1997 we were attacked by New York State Troopers and brought charges against them in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York for violating our freedom of speech, religion and assembly. They used excessive force, conspired to violate our rights, our right to equal protection, while being indifferent to our medical needs. The troopers claimed they had “qualified immunity” that “shields police officers acting in their official capacity from suits for damage…”. They lost at the first level. They took it to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On October 4, 2006 they lost again.

“On October 17, 2006, many of the plaintiffs [98 Cv 374 [FJS] [GLS] met with the two lawyers acting for us in Syracuse, Mr. Terrance Hoffman of Syracuse and Mr. Morello of New York City.… One of the defendants spoke on our behalf. We told our lawyers we did not want a monetary settlement, that we wanted the law to be carried out.

“Yesterday, I went to the Federal Court Building in Syracuse to attend a hearing, which looked like a private meeting between our lawyers and New York State lawyers before Judge George H. Lowe [U.S. Court House, P.O. Box 7346, Syracuse NY 13261-7346 315-234-8613]. They were discussing a “proposed settlement”. Our lawyers were asking for $4.5 million to cover their fees. In return they promised the case would be dropped. [This sounds like extortion!]

“Outside the court room, I gave Mr. Hoffman a note reminding him that we had refused a settlement. We want a public trial because we think there is a possibility of evidence being withheld. The only authority given by the defendants … is to proceed to a trial. It is in the public interest to protect people and to make sure that New York State authorities do not act outside their jurisdiction or violate property rights”. [This is a serious matter.]

“…Judge Lowe will return with his suggestions in one month. We would like to make a complaint against Mr. Hoffman, because he has been making decisions on this case without consulting us, without our consent and in direct violation of our instructions to him. What can we do to protect ourselves? Reasons for pursuing this were so that we would not to be taken advantage of by lawyers.”

A copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Terrance Hoffman Hoffman, Hubert & Hoffman, 4629 Onondaga Boulevard, Syracuse NY 13219-3390 T315-471-43107 C 315-447-4814

To pressure New York State to settle according to his terms, Mr. Hoffman said this was a “watershed” case on relations between the U.S. government, New York State and the Ongwehonwe. He called it “purposeful willful arrogance of power”. To back his arguments, he used videos of the cops brutally beating us. Some of the crimes being covered up were: the attack was prepared beforehand; false arrests and charges which were all later dropped; attempts to fatally injure or maim the demonstrators [hitting us continuously on the head and spine with clubs were intended to kill or permanently hurt us]; internal investigations were thwarted by high level officials; and how cops lied on the stand and in their depositions.

We saw that the “pro bono” scam is common. Ambulance chasers take on class actions suits on behalf of the victims and then settle for their fees, leaving the victims high and dry. They try to avoid laying criminal charges against the law breakers who are usually colonial state or corporate agents. Mr. Hoffman appeared to want to help find a way for the New York State Police to cover up their crimes.

It is a reckless disregard for humanity in general and the Haudenosaunee in particular. We ask the global community to demand that the New York State Police be put on trial according to law and that we not be further victimized.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

See background story on “New York State” category: “Victory in US Court of Appeal – NYS Troopers illegally “ambushed” Iroquois in Onondaga in 1997” [Oct. 17, 2006]

poster: katenies