Tribe won’t release details of casino patron death
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) — The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is refusing to release a report by its police department that details an escalator fall that killed a patron at the tribe-run Foxwoods Resort Casino in October.
The refusal reveals an apparent loophole in a 2014 agreement with the state that gave tribal police more authority to police the reservation, including the casino.
The agreement says tribal police must comply with state laws regarding municipal police “related to law enforcement activities and retention and disclosure of criminal investigation records and arrest data.” It doesn’t specifically mention noncriminal information that local police routinely release.
The Day newspaper requested information on the Oct. 24 escalator fall and was told by tribe spokeswoman Lori Potter last week that tribal police weren’t required to release it.
“Noncriminal matters are not covered in the agreement, and we are therefore unable to comment further on the incident out of respect for our patrons and families involved,” Potter said in a statement.
The Associated Press requested the tribal police report on the escalator incident on Wednesday. Potter said Thursday that tribal officials were reviewing the request.
State and local police routinely release information on victims who die in car crashes and other accidents.
New London State’s Attorney Michael Regan, the region’s top prosecutor, told the AP on Thursday that the woman’s fall from the escalator was an accident. He said he could not provide other details. His office must be notified of all untimely deaths in southeastern Connecticut.
An official with the Mohegan Tribe, which runs the nearby Mohegan Sun casino, told The Day that tribal police do release reports on noncriminal incidents at the casino. The Mohegans signed a similar agreement with the state to broaden tribal police authority.
Regan and Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said they believed the purpose of the agreements was to make tribal police act the same as municipal police departments.
The tribal police agreements are with the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which oversees state police.
A spokeswoman said Thursday that state police officials were looking into what information the tribal departments are required to release under the agreements.