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Apaches Say Private Security Guards|Seized Tribal Hall, With Guns & Dogs

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - Armed guards working for a private security service, but claiming to be sheriff's deputies, broke and entered an Apache tribal building, held Apaches at gunpoint, and now stand guard 24 hours a day with guns and dogs, refusing to let tribal members enter the building, the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma claims. The tribe sued Able Security and Investigations in Oklahoma County Court.

According to the complaint, the brouhaha erupted after the tribe voted unanimously on Sept. 6 to remove the chairman and vice chairwoman of its 5-person Business Committee.

Three days later, "Defendants Able Security, (its employee Scott) Gordon, and John Does 1-10, armed with firearms and other weaponry, and without any warning whatsoever, forced their way into the Apache Tribal Complex by breaking windows and ramming the front door, and held unarmed tribal members at gunpoint," the complaint states. "As defendants broke into the building they claimed they were with the Caddo County Sheriff's Department."

When the remaining three members of the Apache Business Committee tried to meet on Sept. 20, as required by the Apache Constitution, "Defendants, armed with weapons and attack dogs, turned them away," the complaint states.

"Defendants stand guard at the Apache Tribal Complex 24 hours a day, and continue to refuse admittance to the Complex by duly elected members of the Apache Business Committee who need to conduct the business of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma. Neither the Apache Tribal council nor the Apache Business Committee ever authorized the hiring of Defendants. Defendants are illegally in possession and occupying the Apache Tribal Complex, and denying to duly elected members of the Apache Business Committee entry to the Complex in order to conduct tribal business."

The tribe demands punitive damages for trespass, conversion, injury to property, interference with business, and an injunction to get those guys and their guns and dogs out of there.

The tribe is represented by Jon Brightmire with Doerner Saunders Daniel of Tulsa.

The Lipan Apaches were the easternmost of the eight major bands of Apaches when Anglos arrived.

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