Exclusive: Tribal police release new video on Chukchansi casino incident

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New video shows more of the scuffle that led to the closure of Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.

Chukchansi's Tribal Police Chief says the public was never in any danger when his officers forcefully took over the office to find critical financial documents.

The man hired as tribal police chief says what happened at Chukchansi one week ago was a well-planned and well-executed mission that went wrong when the Madera County Sheriff's Office released volatile security guards that tazed one of his officers.

The new video shows tribal police arrive at the casino last Thursday. They detain three private security guards then head inside where the tribal police chief says the officer's guns were then holstered.

"From the time we arrived on scene until the time that we were out of the lobby and into the tribal gaming commission side, which is the complete opposite side of the resort from the casino, was less than three minutes," said Chief John Oliveira. "We were done, we were in place, there was nothing else going on."

Oliveira's title of police chief is only about six weeks old. His tribal law enforcement career, he says, is nearly 20 years old.

When hired by the Tex McDonald council Oliveira says he didn't take sides with either faction. He took the job only to help the tribe establish a police force of well-trained former peace officers.

Oliveira claims the incident was peaceful around the public, noting guest check-ins went uninterrupted as seen in the video.

But things got out of hand in the basement, he says because the private security guards his officers detained an hour and half earlier were released by Madera County Sheriff's Deputies then snuck into the basement after tripping the fire alarm.

"Had they not been released, this never would have happened," Oliveira said.

He claims an officer was tazed, and that's what caused the seconds-long basement brawl. Another angle, from a security camera released by the Reggie Lewis Council last week, he says doesn't give full context.

The casino he says should have never been closed by the government because the public was never in danger. But since it will be closed at least until an October 29th court hearing deputies will patrol the facility at a major cost to the county.

"When we do make that kind of service to the property and to the tribe they reimburse us for those services," said Madera County Supervisor David Roger. "Currently they do owe us quite a bit from previous circumstances."

To be clear Action News has only see portions of this new video and the video released last week.

A security guard involved in this incident says the so-called officers acted illegally. He's hoping to see them arrested.

We contacted the sheriff's department to get answers about why that security team was released but we were simply told this is still under investigation.

Arrests could come once all investigations are submitted to the district attorney.



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