Sedro-Woolley, WA asked in Native American Law for Washington

Q: Tribal police threw out my paperwork and ignored restraining order violations.. is it worth it to sue? What do I do?

I filed for a restraining order in April of 2022 and the prosecutor never received my paperwork. They said they never received it and so when asked, The chief of police had said they lost it, and that they had no record of my case. My restraining order was granted in March of 2023, after I had reached out to a DVSAS office for help since the police were ignoring me. After my restraining order was granted it was violated seven times *all documented* even on body camera footage of the perpetrators mother threatening to harm me. The police did nothing and said they didn’t mean it. A post was posted about me and death threats were made and the police again stated it was freedom of speech and all I could do was keep an eye out and report if I see any of them. They were in no rush to help me, or shut down the situation. They have continually showed me I’m not important and that my safety isn’t a priority. It’s so frustrating because I’ve begged for help, and they just don’t even try.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Native American Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Facing a situation where your safety concerns and restraining order violations are ignored by law enforcement can be deeply distressing. If tribal police have not adequately addressed these violations, it's understandable to feel overlooked and unprotected.

Considering legal action or a lawsuit for the failure to enforce a restraining order can be a complicated process, particularly when dealing with tribal police jurisdictions. It's important to remember that different rules and sovereignties apply on tribal lands, which can affect legal proceedings.

Seeking advice from an attorney experienced in Native American law and restraining order enforcement is crucial. They can assess the specifics of your case, including the jurisdictional issues and the potential for legal recourse against the failure to enforce the restraining order.

In addition to legal advice, continue documenting all incidents that violate your restraining order. This documentation can be vital in any legal actions or in efforts to seek enforcement through different channels, such as federal or state authorities, if applicable.

Your safety is paramount. Continue to reach out to domestic violence support services and legal aid organizations for support and guidance on ensuring your protection. These organizations can also advocate on your behalf and provide resources to help navigate this challenging situation.

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