“If Clint Halftown wants to put these people under his umbrella and claim that this represents the Cayuga Indian Nation, that’s incredibly sad.”
Charles Bowman, a Fayette resident, who suffered a brutal beatdown at the hands of Cayuga Nation Police officers around this time last year, has finally filed a civil lawsuit in Seneca County’s Supreme Court of the State of New York on Thursday, Feb. 25.
The suit individually names Mark Lincoln, the Cayuga Nation Police Department’s superintendent as well as Pathfinder Solutions, LLC, a private security operations company based out of Valparaiso, Indiana.
Schlather, Stumbar, Parks & Salk, LLP, an Ithaca legal firm is representing Bowman in Seneca County’s court.
Jacob P. McNamara, Esq., is leading the case, and excited to take up that challenge.
“It’s ridiculous what happened here and local law enforcement could have stopped it and the fact that these thugs just came in the community and did this to a citizen is just a truly disturbing event,” McNamara told FingerLakes1.com.
There are six causes of action that prompted the long-standing civil suit: negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium.
The lawsuit states that the defendants engaged in “knowing, malicious, willful and wanton” conduct toward Bowman that’s “so extreme and outrageous as to exceed the bounds of decency in a civilized society.”
Physically speaking, Bowman left with nasal bone and septal fractures; facial abrasions; contusions on his face, ribs, back; pain and irritation resulting from pepper spray, after his violent encounter with Cayuga Nation Police officers at the demolition site along State Route 89.
But the emotional trauma was equally scarring, with the lawsuit later revealing an allegation that an officer sexually assaulted him when he “grabbed his crotch and penis repeatedly for no legitimate reason” immediately after undergoing an initial search before boarding a bus for an hourlong detainment while in their custody.
The Cayuga Nation Police officers later released Bowman from their custody, placing him in the care of an ambulance that rushed him to the Geneva General Hospital where he received a CT scan, and later treated for his numerous injuries.
“They violently, and without cause or justification, attacked and savagely beat him and pepper-sprayed him while he was in a helpless state and condition, and grabbed his crotch and penis repeatedly for no legitimate reason,” it further details.
Although Bowman had been beaten and bludgeoned by men dressed in Cayuga Nation Police regalia almost a year ago on Feb. 29, McNamara doesn’t “even see this as a Cayuga Indian Nation Police issue.”
EXCLUSIVE: Man detained by Cayuga Nation police vows to press charges (audio)
They’re “private mercenaries from out of town,” McNamara characterized the contracted Pathfinder Solutions company, who originally “arrested” and later unlawfully detained Bowman on non-trust lands.
A year has almost passed, yet Bowman and his legal team are still unable to identify any of the contracted individuals who were reportedly hired and deputized to assist the Cayuga Nation Police Department in protecting their fee lands in Seneca Falls on Sat., Feb. 29, 2020.
Ambiguity and anonymity still clouds their identities, which McNamara believes will only come to light through the upcoming discovery phase of their litigation proceedings.
“We’re really interested is finding out who exactly are these people that are beating up Charles, because we’re not 100-percent clear on that. These guys are from out of town. We have them on video, we’ll be able to identify them,” McNamara explained.
As more names are added to the public record, they too, will be listed and individually subject to the ongoing civil suit, which will be continually amended as more contractors are identified.
The lawsuit insists that Bowman was assaulted and sustained “serious psychological and emotional distress, mental suffering and fright” after “willfully intended” to physically detain and confine the plaintiff by “taking him into custody, zip-tying his hands, and hauling him away.”
At one time, Lee Alcott, a partner at Barclay Damon, who represents the Halftown-led faction of the Cayuga Nation, revealed to FingerLakes1.com in last March that Bowman wasn’t arrested, despite conflicting reports.
That same weekend, Alcott released a press statement which noted that Bowman, a non-Indigenous Seneca County resident had been detained while three other Indigenous men from the Seneca, Onondaga and Oneida Nations were arrested.
“Mr. Bowman was not arrested. Non-Cayugas were not arrested. Those who will be charged will be Native Americans, whether the members of the Cayuga nation, Seneca Mohawk, Onondaga Nation or any other Nation that comes to the Nation’s reservation and commits criminal acts,” Alcott said during a phone interview in March 2020.
Charges were being drafted, which never materialized following FingerLakes1.com‘s latest investigation, which revealed that none of the reported three arrests ever happened following the Grand Council’s press conference from last year.
Despite admitting that the Nation had no jurisdiction to charge Bowman, however, Alcott still mentioned that “there has been no determination at present whether he would be charged” but strongly defended the Nation’s “absolute right to enforce its criminal laws against Native Americans.”
Now Bowman he’s seeking damages to cover those incurred losses in a court of law.
A notable party that’s absent from the lawsuit is local law enforcement, specifically the Seneca Falls Police Department and Seneca County Sheriff’s Office — which “we’re not pleased” with, in the words of McNamara.
“We did file a notice of claim and connection to the county and the town, but ultimately, in the decision not to sue them, it’s partly in the hope that they’re going to step up and address the situation,” he elaborated. “It’s not totally the job of citizens to address violence in the community, it’s traveled to principally the police departments.”
Another glaring exemption from the current civil suit is Clint Halftown, the Cayuga Nation’s federal representative, who isn’t named as a part of Bowman’s case either.
Although he’s not actually named as a defendant in these proceedings, the civil suit is primarily premised on his own infamous legacy that materialized on that fateful day in Seneca Falls, according to McNamara.
“If Clint Halftown wants to put these people under his umbrella and claim that this represents the Cayuga Indian Nation, that’s incredibly sad,” he ended.
Editor’s Note: FingerLakes1.com has reached out to Pathfinder Solutions, LLC, for a comment regarding Charles Bowman’s current civil suit, but hasn’t heard back from them at this time.
Shortly after the story published, Lee Alcott wrote the following statement:
“The Cayuga Nation is aware of a civil lawsuit by a non-Native who trespassed on Cayuga Nation land and violently assaulted uniformed Cayuga Nation police officers one year ago. This case is an obvious end run to avoid the sovereign immunity of the Cayuga Nation and its police officers. The allegations in the suit are completely false, a fact known to the Seneca Falls Police Department, which thoroughly investigated the plaintiff’s allegations with total cooperation by the Cayuga Nation police and found them completely without basis in fact. The Nation looks forward to defending its officers and its sovereignty in court.”