- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

VINELAND, Minn. — The 11-year-old boy was led from his school in handcuffs, held overnight in a juvenile detention center and hauled into court in shackles and an orange prison jumpsuit.

His crime? Missing a court date to testify as the victim of an assault.

The treatment of the boy, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, has reignited a decades-old feud between the tribe and officials from the surrounding county in central Minnesota.

“There’s other people out there they could have picked to make an example of,” said Kristie Lee Davis-Deyhle, the boy’s mother. “Not an 11-year-old.”

Tribal leaders are calling for the resignation of the Mille Lacs County attorney, Jan Kolb, who says she was just carrying out policy in the face of a long history of band members ignoring subpoenas.

“I don’t know that it should have been done differently,” Miss Kolb said, adding that the uproar “is a way to make Mille Lacs County look like it’s racist.”

The Mille Lacs Band, now the largest employer in the county, and some of its neighbors have long had a tense relationship. The official policy of the county is that the Mille Lacs Band’s reservation no longer exists because of legal decisions dating to the early 20th century. Federal courts have rejected a lawsuit to that effect, but Miss Kolb and the Mille Lacs County Commission maintain their position.

The 11-year-old boy was reportedly the victim of an assault by a 13-year-old classmate, but, Miss Kolb said, the county was having trouble prosecuting the 13-year-old because the younger boy and his mother ignored subpoenas and missed several court dates.

When the boy missed a court hearing in early April, Miss Kolb’s office requested the judge issue a warrant for his arrest. A tribal officer was dispatched to his school, where he was handcuffed and taken to the detention center.

Mrs. Davis-Deyhle talked to her son on the phone that afternoon.

“He told me he didn’t understand what was going on,” she said. “I could hear the tears, the fear in his voice.”

Miss Kolb is unapologetic about the boy’s treatment. She said the entire point of the prosecution was to make him safer against the 13-year-old aggressor.

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