Chaos erupted after a 24 hour standoff took place outside the Chukchansi government office. About 20 people were involved in the riot. In the midst of the madness one teenager was stabbed and two people were injured. The Madera County Sheriff's Department and CHP stepped in to help stop the riot. Two people were taken into custody. As for what caused the violence, both sides had very different stories. Tribal member, Patrick Lawhon said, “These guys inside came out and attacked this lady and forced our guys to attack them. These cops are hitting us, when they're over there hitting a girl.”
New tribal council supporter, Shirley Diaz said, “It was hostile. They became hostile at us. I was here last night and they were throwing, breaking glass on us, throwing smoke bombs and elders were crawling on the ground. It was awful.”
The controversy started in December 2011. Morris Reid's supporters say he was voted into council, but defeated, Reggie Lewis refused to leave office. Reid's group took over the Chukchansi tribal government building and barricaded the windows.
Annette Allen supports Reid. She said, “Reggie and Chance lost. They are not our council. They lost the election and they will not step down and this is all due to them.”
Dustin Graham supports Lewis. He said, “These individuals have a right to be here. They are actually the true officials of our tribe, today. Morris and the rest of these guys are erroneously in here. They have their own issues they must deal with.”
Reid's supporters claim Lewis’ group cut off their electricity and water supply. They say security forced them to stay inside. That's when a handful of people tore down this gate. After about three hours, deputies and officers from multiple agencies were able to stop the riot. Tribal members of both factions peacefully left the property. Reid's group says the fight is still far from over. Raymond battles said, “We will come back. We will not lie down.”
Both sides have agreed to a 48-hour cooling off period. In the meantime, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson is writing a letter to congressional leaders. He's asking them to communicate to the Bureau of Indian Affairs the need for their assistance in resolving this ongoing dispute.
About 100 officers and deputies from various agencies were on tribal government property to help stop the riot.