A protest at a DAPL site in N. Dakota resulted with the arrest of Shailene Woodley who was conducting a live video feed on social media.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
October 10, 2016
Mandan, N. Dakota – On Monday, hundreds of water protectors (protesters) converged at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction site near Mandan after a three judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Sunday denied to grant an injunction filing by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to halt DAPL construction at areas near Lake Oahe on the Mississippi River where the tribe had argued would desecrate sacred land and burial sites. The federal appeals court decision clears the way for DAPL to proceed with the construction of a crude oil pipeline up the Oahe Lake, but the Corps of Engineers would still have to approve an easement for the DAPL pipeline to drill under the water to cross the Mississippi River.
A DAPL protest participant, Shailene Woodley, 24, movie actress from “Divergent” was conducting a Facebook live streaming video of the peaceful protest at a DAPL site on Monday during Indigenous Day (Columbus Day) and had over 1.3M views including 40K shares. Woodley was targeted and arrested near St. Anthony by a Morton County Sheriff’s deputy because she was identified for trespassing on private property while doing a live streaming of the protest. She had reported that several other people had been arrested earlier for trespassing at the DAPL site.
The commercialized mainstream media has been accused of blacking out ongoing news coverage from the DAPL sites in N. Dakota, according to Native Amercan activists and water protectors.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is known to also arrest independent reporters who are video recording news about protests. The MCSO confirmed that Woodley and 24 other people were arrested and charged with criminal trespass and are also facing charges for inciting or engaging in a riot on Monday and two additional people who locked or strapped themselves to DAPL equipment are facing felony charges.
Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, the chief operating officer in the operation defined riot as a group of five or more individuals who incite people to violate the law by encouraging them to go into private property, yell at officers, use loud megaphones and cheering people to break the law, which to him is not a peaceful protest or prayer gathering, but an ideology or an agenda by certain people to imposed on others. Sheriff Laney stated, the rioters (over 100 of them), “intentionally violated the law, intentionally yelled and spurring others on to do what they were doing” was the behavior that the protesters engaged in at the DAPL site on Highway 6 just South of St. Anthony. Sheriff Laney says, that they will attempt to identify the leaders of today’s riot and the leaders will face charges for inciting a riot.
But, several videos recorded by Woodley only showed that about 100 vehicles parked along the side of Highway 6 in each direction and weren’t blocking traffic flow. The peaceful protest began shortly after 7:00 a.m. the videos showed people chanting in Native American language, singing, praying and burning sage as a ceremonial tradition. No violence of any type was conducted by the those gathered at the protest other than walking into private property, which wasn’t completely fence to keep people out from the highway. Woodley says, that police told people to leave the private property and that’s what some were doing including her, until she was stopped and arrested. Her mother and others who accompanied Woodley were not arrested.
The MCSO recently announced that more than 40 law enforcement officers from around the region in N. Dakota including deputies from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in Madison, Wisconsin will assist MCSO deputies at DAPL protest sites. Cass County Sheriff Laney confirmed that Dane County Sheriff deputies from Wisconsin assisted other law enforcement officers in the operation near St. Anthony.
Update: Shailene Woodley was released on bail on Monday pending her case.
Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney over stepped his law enforcement duties by claiming that Native American peaceful demonstrations and prayer ceremonies held at Dakota Access Pipeline construction sites to disruption operations in N. Dakota were “riots.” Under the N. Dakota criminal code Chapter 12.1-25, a group of persons of five or more can be charged with a riot crime, but they must engaged in “tumultuous and violent conduct creates grave danger of damage or injury to
property or persons or substantially obstructs law enforcement or other government
function.” Which at the DAPL site near St. Anthony, more than one hundred people were participating in a peaceful demonstration and Native American prayer ceremony involving singing, chanting and music in private property.
In other words, Sheriff Laney during a press conference on Monday did indicate that all those involved at the prayer ceremony on private property were engaging in a riot or were rioters and the leaders were inciting a riot, which video recordings by Shailene Woodley, an actress from the movie “Divergent” and other videos from participants who were posted on social media and went viral show no violence or destruction of property as Sheriff Laney would like the public to believe.
Under the N. Dakota criminal code Chapter 12.1-25-01. Inciting riot.
1. A person is guilty of an offense if he:
a. Incites or urges five or more persons to create or engage in a riot; or
b. Gives commands, instructions, or directions to five or more persons in furtherance of a riot.
2. “Riot” means a public disturbance involving an assemblage of five or more persons which by tumultuous and violent conduct creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons or substantially obstructs law enforcement or other government function.