Morton County Sheriff deputies, law enforcement officers and N.D state troopers blocked a private one lane roadway from both directions and arrested at least 21 people conducting a prayer vigil to protect water on private land.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 28, 2016
Mandan, N. Dakota – On Wednesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) reported that 21 people were taken into custody at two private Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) sites. The MCSO in a press release stated, Mandan “law enforcement officers assigned to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest arrested 21 protesters at two construction sites along the DAPL south and west of St. Anthony. Officers arrested the protesters for various crimes including resisting arrest, criminal trespass on private property and possession of stolen property. Tow trucks were called to transport 5 impounded vehicles.
When officers responded they witnessed numerous people and horses on private property. A protester on horseback charged at an officer in what was viewed as an act of aggression. The officer responded with an appropriate show of force by raising his weapon containing less-lethal ammunition.
“Our officers are trained to respond to the threats they perceive and to take appropriate action. A charging horse combined with totality of the situation presented an imminent threat to the officer,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.
Sheriff Kirchmeier says, that so far 95 people have been arrested since August 16, at protests against DAPL. Kirchmeier didn’t say, if the road that was blocked from both directions was private property.
Some of the protesters were allowed by police to get in their vehicles and leave.
A video released from on of the scene, people are heard telling the heavily armed officers that they were on a prayer pilgrimage at DAPL sites. Several man form the scene who drove off from the area managed to video record the assault by law enforcement officers on DAPL protesters.
A plane is seen dumping some kind of chemical, but Sheriff Kirchmeier said, it was just dusting crops.
Thomas H. Joseph II, a Community Organizer from the People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO)National Network who video recorded the confrontation with law enforcement officers posted on his Facebook account that, “Today’s action where uncalled for, the police was a direct threat to woman and children.
We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave. No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.”
The DAPL construction pipeline is going on at night as well, according to Joseph.
Joseph did admit that they were in what he believed was on private property and they were located at a dead end one lane road as well, which was not a county or public roadway.