Morton County Sheriff’s Department said they arrested 141 people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Officers who performed the arrests were reportedly armed and wearing riot gear, and arrived with soldiers and military Humvees. An airplane and helicopters monitoring the scene from above showed a string of law enforcement officials standing down protestors lined up on a bridge.
On October 27 at 11:15 AM Mountain Time law enforcement began moving towards people protesting the pipeline on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners close to Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said they told protesters they were “free to go” and asked them to move to the south camp, which is on federally owned land. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said it was a “public safety issue” as protesters were blocking roads and “trespassing on private property.”
The sheriff’s department reported violence and even said a woman shot at law enforcement with a .38 caliber revolver. The Indigenous Life Movement said the woman was in fact holding a prayer staff. Protesters contend it’s not their actions, but the pipeline that is illegal, and that the corporation behind the pipeline stole the land.
Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II wrote a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch dated October 24, requesting the government investigate “overall militarization of law enforcement response.”
In the letter he said, “Peaceful protests are being met with military vehicles and heavily armed law enforcement personnel in riot gear. Rather than seeking to keep the peace, law enforcement personnel are clearly working in tandem with private security of Dakota Access…This country has a long and sad history of using military force against indigenous people – including the Sioux Nation. I would like to think that those days are past – and that today Tribal rights cannot be ignored and military force cannot be used to suppress Indian people. But when I see the militarization taking place in North Dakota against Indian people, I am genuinely concerned.”