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Distributed August 14, 2003
Contact Tracie Sweeney

The Narragansett Smoke Shop
Statement by the Independent Review Committee

Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, who chairs the Independent Review Committee established by R.I. Gov. Donald L. Carcieri to review the incident at the Narragansett Smoke Shop, issued the following statement on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003:

On Wednesday evening, Aug. 6, I received a letter from Gov. Donald L. Carcieri setting out clear guidelines for the work of the Independent Review Committee. Because the incident at the Narragansett Smoke Shop affected many Rhode Islanders deeply and involved many complex issues, I requested this specific guidance from the governor and I thank him for providing it.

My colleagues and I on the committee represent the public interest of the people of Rhode Island. Accordingly, we intend to gather relevant information and hear from individuals who were involved in the events, and from those who have knowledge or expertise pertaining to these matters. While there will be occasions during this process when we will deliberate in executive session, most sessions will be open to the public.

As the committee is not a judicial body, we will not aim for conclusions that resolve legal issues. Rather, we will review the facts and circumstances and consider a broader range of factors, including how the decision to serve a warrant and shut down the smoke shop was made; whether the planning was conducted appropriately; and whether the parties acted in keeping with sound and lawful behavior.

It is our hope that our report and recommendations will inform the public and will be helpful to all parties. We hope also that the work of the committee will contribute both to greater understanding of the issues and ultimately to improved relations between the Tribe and the State.

After preliminary meetings to plan our work and consider procedural questions, the committee will announce the dates and times of its public sessions, and then proceed with its work as rapidly as possible. As requested by the governor, the committee will issue a report at the conclusion of its work.

– Ruth J. Simmons, for the committee

Committee Members

  • Eugene G. Gallant, retired Superior Court associate justice
  • Rabbi Leslie Gutterman, Temple Beth-El, Providence, R.I.
  • Jacqueline J. Johnson, executive director, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, D.C.
  • Rev. Matthew Kai, executive minister, Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island
  • Rear Adm. Barbara McGann, president, Rhode Island chapter, American Red Cross
  • Ruth J. Simmons (chair), president, Brown University, Providence, R.I.


  • Sanford Cloud Jr., president and CEO, The National Conference for Community and Justice


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