Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe sues county, wants authority to investigate crimes

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's main reservation
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's main reservation area is about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities on the southwest side of Mille Lacs Lake.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has filed a federal lawsuit against Mille Lacs County over policing concerns.

The county terminated its law enforcement agreement with the band more than a year ago, leaving tribal officers without the authority to investigate crimes.

In its complaint, the band asks a judge to declare that tribal officers can investigate violations of federal, state and tribal law on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation and prohibit the county from interfering. The suit also names the county sheriff and prosecutor.

The band's leaders say gangs and drug dealers view the reservation as a police-free zone, and the result has been an increase in crime and opioid abuse.

At the root of the disagreement is a longstanding feud over reservation boundaries.

Governor Dayton has called for the two sides to resolve the dispute through mediation at the end of the month.

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