Penobscot Nation Leaders Charged With Assault

Apr 11, 2018

The chief of the Penobscot Nation, his two adult sons and another tribal leader face assault charges for their involvement in a fight that broke out in the parking lot of a Bangor bar, authorities said.

Around 12:20 a.m on Jan. 13, Chief Kirk Francis, 48, and his sons Kirk Francis Jr., 27, and Tannar Francis, 24, got into a fight with Robert Dana, 51, in the parking lot of the Penobscot Pourhouse at 14 Larkin St, said Bangor Sgt. Wade Betters. Francis lives in Bangor, but his sons are from Westbrook and Farmington, respectively.

At the time, only Dana, of Indian Island, was charged with assault, Betters said. Francis and his sons were charged last week.

“Though Mr. Dana was the only person charged that night, the case remained under investigation,” Betters said. “Subsequently, officers gathered enough information to support charging Mr. Francis and two of his sons in connection with the fight that night.”

Other people were present for the fight but not directly involved, he said.

Tribal leadership — a partnership between the chief, an elected position, and the elected Tribal Council — governs the Penobscot Nation, which includes 2,040 members, 610 of whom live on the tribe’s Indian Island reservation.

Tonia Dana, Robert’s wife, said the scuffle erupted over long-simmering tensions between Francis and her husband, a member of Nation’s 12-person Tribal Council who has repeatedly sparred with Francis over tribal business.

Robert Dana was taken to the hospital with a split lip and received stitches, Tonia Dana said. Her husband declined to comment on his case, but according to court documents, he is accused of assaulting Tannar Francis.

The three men each face one count of assault and one count of disorderly conduct, Betters said. The older Francis was issued a summons on April 5, and his sons were summonsed on April 4, said Betters, who declined to comment further because the case is in the hands of the district attorney’s office.

Kirk Francis did not return messages seeking comment.

Dana waived his formal arraignment and his lawyer, Michael Hockenbury of Bangor, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, according to court documents. Hockenbury did not return a call for comment on Tuesday.

Kirk Francis is set to be arraigned on the charges on May 7, according to Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Fowler. Court dates have yet to be set for his sons. Dana’s next court appearance is set for May 10.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.