Makah Indian Tribe, Washington

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A tribal police chief has been placed on leave pending an investigation into complaints of excessive force and other conduct. Eric Svenson was placed on leave March 15, said tribal operations manager Patty Manuel, whosaid complaints involved a variety of things not related to jailing children. Svenson did not return a telephone message for comment. At a tribal meeting March 14, Dewey Guy of Neah Bay said his children, 7 and 9, were jailed by Svenson for trespassing. The children apparently were held in jail for about an hour. I want the man walking down the road with suitcase in hand. Community members signed a statement saying, We will not tolerate him using excessive force against women and placing our small children in jail cells. It also spoke of concerns with prisoner work release and hiring. A member of the tribal police for less than two years, Svenson was promoted to chief last September to replace Lionel Ahdunko, who resigned. Federal officials threatened to withhold funding from the tribe after Ahdunko pleaded guilty to felony perjury charges in Nevada. Ahdunko and Svenson both worked for the Washoe tribe in Nevada. Svenson also faces misdemeanor charges in a clash with two anti-whaling activists in November 1998 at the Neah Bay marina.