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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Indian Homes Wrongfully Razed, Suit Claims

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A private law-enforcement company's "armed thugs" forcibly removed a group of Jamul Indians from their home at gunpoint, beat and pepper sprayed them, while a grading contractor bulldozed their house on sacred Indian burial ground, the displaced natives claim in San Diego County Court.

Walter Rosales, Karen Toggery, Toggery's son, and their attorney, Patrick Webb, were allegedly "assaulted, battered, falsely arrested and imprisoned without legal process" by employees of Off Duty Officers Inc.

The alleged eviction stems from a property rights dispute over the Indian cemetery.

According to the plaintiffs, the Coronado Beach Co. deeded the land to a Roman Catholic bishop in 1912, "to be used for the purposes of an Indian graveyard." In 1978, that property was allegedly put into trust for the half-blood Jamul Indians then occupying the land, including the plaintiffs' relatives and ancestors. Though the government later deeded the land to the Jamul Indian Village tribe, the plaintiffs say it remained their individual property.

"The Jamul Indian Village is only a tribal governmental entity, landless at its creation, that did not exist until its constitution was adopted in 1981, and remains without any trust land today," the plaintiffs claim.

The plaintiffs say they were rightfully occupying the land when the defendants unconstitutionally kicked them out in March 2007 and destroyed their property.

They demand $2 million from Off Duty Officers and director of operations Terrence De Gelder; and grading contractor Dietrich Corp. and employees James Hommel, Guillermo Robles Jr. and Jose Gonzalez.

Plaintiffs are represented by Patrick Webb with Webb & Carey.

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