Native Business Association - Allegheny
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 1997
At approximately 9:15 pm on Monday, May 12, 1997, Trent Abrams, a Seneca Nation Marshal on patrol was stopped at gun point by what appeared to be a 7-man military unit dressed in camouflaged fatigues near the Memorial Heights cemetary on the Seneca Territory about 1 mile west of Salamanca, NY. This unit was armed with M-16 rifles and equipped with 2-way radios. Mr. Abrams identified himself as a Seneca Nation Marshal and asked these men who they were and what they were doing on the Seneca land. The armed unit refused to identify themselves. Mr. Abrams was held at gun point, frisked and detained until the individual who appeared to be in charge radioed for instructions and was ordered to move his unit "out of the area". Mr. Abrams was then told he was free to leave. He observed the unit proceeding down the hill to two NYS Police cars waiting on Route 17.
by Matt Anderson
Jimersontown--A Seneca Nation of Indians Marshal found himself surrounded by troopers briefly Monday during an investigation into rocks and explosive devices thrown onto Route 17 Sunday and Monday night.
Irma Cooper, who is the chairwoman of the Native Business Association, said at about 9:15 p.m. Monday, SNI Marshal Trent Abrams was on patrol near Memorial Heights Cemetery when the incident occurred.
Cooper said "the unit" of state police was a dressed in camouflage fatigues and carried two-way radios and M-16 rifles when they stopped Abrams at gun point.
"Mr. Abrams identified himself as a Seneca Nation Marshal and asked these men who they were and what they were doing on Seneca land," Cooper said. "The armed unit refused to identify themselves."
Cooper reported Abrams was frisked and detained until the leader of the group radioed for instructions and was told to move his unit "out of the area," telling Abrams he was free.
"He observed the unit proceeding down the hill to two New York State police cars waiting on Route 17," Cooper said. Cooper was one of seven Senecas detained during an April 30 melee on Route 17 when burning debris was tossed onto the roadway.
Trooper Charlene Mahoney confirmed the incident and said the unit comprised members of the NYS Mobile Response Team who were investigating the tossing of rocks and Molotov cocktails near the Breed Run overpass.
"Mr. Abrams was observed by troopers to be in the area of a wooden bunker where criminal activities had occurred with the rock throwing and Molotov cocktails," Mahoney said. "Mr. Abrams was dressed in camouflage and was approached...for the purpose of identifying him" Mahoney said troopers earlier in the evening spotted an individual in camouflage pointing a long gun at them, however once officers realized who Abrams was, they let him go.
Marshals were appointed last month by SNI President Michael Schindler to patrol the reservation in and attempt to keep highways safe.
"Things have been fairly quiet lately," Mahoney said.