SW Legal studies in Business

Native Americans May Sue for Violation of Equal Protection Due to Failure to Protect
Description Appeals court held that a lawsuit brought by Native Americans who were denied police protection when they demonstrated against gambling on their reservation, despite evidence of violence against them, could proceed with their suit against state officials for failing to provide police protection.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Equal Protection; Criminal Activity; Native Americans
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts During the 1980s there was violent, organized crime on a Mohawk reservation in New York. Tribe members who led demonstrations against gambling on the reservation were targeted by the crime leaders. The tribe members allege that they sought police protection but were denied it because they are Native Americans. They sued Mario Cuomo, governor of New York, and other state officials for violating their right to equal protection. The trial court dismissed the case; the tribe members appealed.
Decision Reversed. A plaintiff who claims selective prosecution in violation of the Equal Protection Clause must plead and establish the existence of similarly situated individuals who were not prosecuted. However, Native American demonstrators would not be required to establish disparate treatment of otherwise similarly situated non-Native Americans to establish an equal protection claim arising from state officials' failure to provide them with police protection, so long as they could establish that officials discriminated by refusing to provide police protection because they were Native American. The suit may proceed.

Citation Pyke v. Cuomo, - F.3d - (2110 WL 822327, 2nd Cir., 2001)

Back to Constitutional Law Listings

©1997-2002  SW Legal Studies in Business. All Rights Reserved.