North Dakota

Brutal Police Actions, Tactics Reported from Dakota Pipeline Protest

Sophia Wilansky had her arm seriously damaged by what protesters say was police-tossed concussion grenade; police deny using any such weapon. Water has been sprayed on protesters in freezing temperature.


As the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline stretch into their seventh month, reports of brutal police attacks from the scene continue.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Most of the available video from the protests is shot and transmitted by people on the scene. But in the past week or so police behavior has been garnering major newspaper attention, and most of the information below are from such sources. But a collection of livestreams from Sunday night's violence can be found here.

• 21-year-old protester Sophia Wilansky had her arm seriously injured Sunday by what her family and other protesters insist was a concussion grenade tossed at them by law officers.

Disturbingly graphic photos of the damage to Wilansky's arm can be found here, not for faint of heart.

Her father Wayne Wilansky told The Guardian that:

"The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality,"…He said…the arteries, median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm had been "blown away".

Sophia will require additional surgery in the next few days and her arm may still have to be amputated, he added. "She's devastated. She looks at her arm and she cries," he said.

Law officers denied to the Los Angeles Times that they used tossed any such thing at protesters.The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, reports The Guardian:

refuted law enforcement's claims in a statement, citing eye-witness accounts of seeing police throw concussion grenades, "the lack of charring of flesh at the wound site" and "grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings".

USA Today's report on the injury to Wilansky.

• Law enforcement use of hoses to spray water on protesters in sub-zero [in centigrade, but in fahrenheit merely "below freezing"] temperature caused, activists insisted, 200 cases of hypothermia. The Los Angeles Times reports law enforcement's side:

Footage of the protest from the independent news outlet Unicorn Riot showed officials specifically targeting protesters with the water cannon, though the water pressure was not turned up high enough to knock anyone down…

Water cannons have not often been used for crowd control in the U.S. in recent years.

"It's a fairly nonstandard application," said Richard Odenthal, a former L.A. Sheriff's Department captain…Odenthal said the L.A. Sheriff's Department had once discussed whether to adopt a water cannon for crowd control, but decided against it, citing famous footage from the 1960s of Southern police officials turning high-powered fire hoses on black protesters. "We decided that wasn't an image we wanted to portray," Odenthal said.

Herr, the Morton County sheriff's spokeswoman, said that a fire department had brought a water hose to help put out a brush fire and that officials at the scene decided to repurpose it against the protesters, citing "aggression from the agitators in the camp [who] continued to raise their level of resistance against law enforcement."

• Details from The Intercept via reports from medic's on the scene:

"What it was like was people walking through the dark of a winter North Dakota night, some of them so cold, and sprayed with water for so long, that their clothes were frozen to their body and crunching as they walked. So you could hear this crunching sound and this pop-pop-pop, and people yelling [to the police], 'We'll pray for you! We love you!'" [Linda] Black Elk [a member of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council] said, describing the scene as police sprayed protesters with water and fired tear gas and rubber bullets during the more than six-hour standoff.

"All of a sudden there were these bright, blinding spotlights, so you could see each other, but you couldn't see [the police]," she said. "Every once in awhile you could hear someone scream who had been hit by a rubber bullet."

In the midst of the clash, the Medic and Healer Council, which was set up to provide health support to those fighting the pipeline, released a statement pleading with police to halt the use of water cannons. "As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real risk of loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions," the statement said.

The Intercept does a better job contextualizing the actual physical circumstances than most major newspaper reports:

The standoff [Sunday night] began after pipeline opponents attempted to use a semitruck to remove two charred military vehicles from a bridge. The vehicles were serving as a blockade between the large encampment known as Oceti Sakowin, which has served as a base for blocking the pipeline, and construction sites accessible farther down the highway. Beyond the burned-out vehicles stood cement road barriers topped with razor wire, behind which police and other security officials have been standing guard since the end of October. Their presence means a detour for those traveling between the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the city of Bismarck, including emergency medical services

The police defended their use of what they called not a "water cannon" but a mere "fire hose" because protesters had been "very aggressive" and allegedly were throwing projectiles at them. (See picture above.)

The Guardian reports that the police defended the initial use of the fire hose as needed to put out fires started by the protesters. Jade Begay, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, characterized those fires to the paper as "two bonfires to keep people warm and make soup and tea. Other fires were sparked by law enforcement weapons, she added."

The New York Times reported yesterday on 16 more arrests made since Sunday night's water attack and notes both police and protesters are leveling charges of mutual violence against each other, with police saying rocks and logs were being thrown at them.

• Police last month arrested a protester named Red Fawn Fallis after claiming she shot at officers, while in a scrum with them as they tried to detain her.

The Guardian reports how her friends doubt the story, and how the police are in no hurry to present any evidence for it:

local police had arrested Fallis and charged her with attempted murder, saying that she had pulled out a .38 revolver and fired three gunshots at police during another mass arrest incident.

The Morton County sheriff's office has held up the charges as an example of what it says is the violent and illegal behavior of Native American protesters….

But Fallis's close friends and supporters [say] the firearm accusations were inconceivable….the sheriff's office alleged that Fallis resisted arrest and fired three shots, causing the ground to "explode". No one was injured….

Can the police corroborate their story?

Asked for copies of any footage of the arrest or photos of the firearm, a spokeswoman for the sheriff said: "That is all evidence that will not be released until the investigation is complete."

Friends insist she herself advised others on the scene to stay "peaceful and prayerful" and they cannot believe she would have violated native elder insistence that no one involved be armed.

More of the police's account of what happened at Heavy, including that Fallis "told Probation and Parole that 'they are lucky she didn't shoot 'all you f—kers.' She then requested an attorney, the complaint says."

• The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is petitioning "the DOJ to investigate possible constitutional violations and suspend police use of federally supplied military equipment." on the scene.

Among the practices the ACLU reports as troublesome:

In below-freezing weather last night, law enforcement deployed tear gas, water cannons, percussion grenades, and rubber bullets against hundreds protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

News reports confirm more than 300 people have been injured…..nonviolent protesters are being confronted by police in riot gear with armored military vehicles, automatic rifles, sonic weapons, concussion grenades, attack dogs, pepper spray, and beanbag bullets…

North Dakota has received $3 million worth of military equipment from the federal government through the Defense Department's 1033 program.

NEXT: Conservative Group Launches 'Watchlist' of Profs Who Say Un-American Things, Trump Says 'You'll Love' His Free Speech Policies: P.M. Links

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  1. As much as I don’t trust police, isn’t this the same crowd (not literally!) which was braying for violent action to end the Oregon standoff?

    Fucking hypocrites. Cry me a (cold) river.

    1. only they are allowed to protest. Compare the hundreds or lefty protests which trash and burn cities, and the occupy protests which turned parks into open sewers, to the tea party protests that were civil and cleaned up after themselves.

    2. Time to repurpose some hunting rifles.

    3. What I’m curious about is this; does one still consider something a ‘peaceful protest’ when the protesters are actively blocking work from being done? Technically, it doesn’t sound like they’re actively attacking anyone (although I haven’t kept up with this story) but at the same time it doesn’t seem that blocking construction from happening is actually a peaceful assembly.

      They should absolutely be able to protest, but if that protest takes the form of chaining themselves to work equipment or tree’s (I’m thinking of environmental nuts here) then that would seem to cross a line from peaceful protest to something else since it necessarily escalates the situation.

      Either way, it wouldn’t seem to justify the tactics reported by the police. I’m not sure what the ‘right’ solution for law enforcement would be, but blowing people up and/or freezing them seems like a pretty poor plan. Putting them in jail for what is almost certainly trespassing seems about right to me.

      1. They haven’t been particularly “peaceful,” but the press is universally emphasizing violence by the police, as the optics of defending brutal police tactics against Native American protestors and their sympathizers are not good.

        This is one of those situations in which there is a striking shortage of “good guys.”

        The protesters, from what I’ve seen, have no idea what’s actually going on, haven’t followed/aren’t aware of Standing Rock’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers and why they lost it, and have been lighting tire fires and burning vehicles in the name of saving the environment, in addition to trying to shut valves on existing pipelines (which are all over the place around there), which could easily lead to just the exact environmental disaster they are looking to prevent.

        It’s telling that in media coverage, that bridge just “happens” to have burnt out army trucks on it. The protestors played no role in that.

        OTOH, the police are being major dicks, and the company running the DAPL look to have been abusing eminent domain in a big way (their FAQ page, in response to the question “what if I don’t want to sell you my land?” is essentially “we have ways of making sure we come to an agreement”).

        The Corps of Engineers had a process they went through, but they blew through it pretty quickly in a fairly blatant “create the appearance of public review opportunities” mode.

        1. The Sioux are feigning concern for the graves of people their ancestors slaughtered indiscriminately, and seem to have deliberately excluded themselves from the review process but, as mentioned above, there are already several pipelines in that exact spot that don’t seem to have been as much of an issue.

          I find the protestors annoying, but there’s no one here who’s really worth getting behind.

          1. There’s just too many situations like this. Eminent domain used to seize lands that make it more convenient for private companies is very wrong. Police hosing down protestors is wrong. Protestors burning cars and setting up barricades to prevent people from doing their jobs is wrong. Protestors throwing rocks and fireworks at police is wrong. Police setting dogs on the protestors is wrong.

            In an ideal world, we’d take a month off and rotate in some different LEOs. But that’s the sort of step you take before the workers have started working. At that point, they’re committed, and it’s horribly costly for them to lose time instead of completing the thing they already started.

  2. How about if the Federal government treats them like the Bundys? You know, try to put them in jail for decades, and gun down any that look at them crosseyed.

    Left wing protesters always get a pass, then when their behavior gets out of hand, they cry and moan when police try to keep them from rioting.

    1. The enemy of my enemy is my friend (whether from the left or the right). Fuck the police.

    2. It’s only a problem if my political opponents do it?

    3. This hardly sounds like a pass

  3. The Intercept does a better job contextualizing the actual physical circumstances than most major newspaper reports:

    Duh doi. For whatever reason I do assume Greenwald employs professionals.

  4. Harkens to the famous libertarian image “wants more government, more government” photo.

    It boggles the mind how these Proggies will rant and scream to stop the government from doing something, and then turn around and rant and scream for MOAR government. It’s like they’re just to damned stupid to think logically…

    1. no ive had this same conversation with progs, it is all about the wrong people making decisions and we need the right people to make decisions.

      they literally cannot comprehend that power is bad because bad people can have power. Even after Trump is elected, the problem isn’t the power trump has, it’s that we need someone other than Trump to have the power.

      They have no concept of liberty, freedom, or history, so trying to argue with them over their emote is impossible

      1. Fuck the police. See above.

      2. Yes, and they believe everyone is stupid except themselves so not sure where they think these right people are supposed to come from?

      3. It’s not really about the right or wrong people having lots of power. Power corrupts! Even a good person will start to let the power go to their head. Worse, the power attracts a certain type of personality — left, right, doesn’t matter — who enjoys power over others.

        Yes, progs are idiots. This isn’t news. Still, fuck the police!

  5. With all due respect, people, fuck the whole “They’d support this if it happened to someone else, they deserve it” bullshit.

    When government does this to its own citizens for protesting it’s wrong. Full stop.

    1. I will continue to sneer at hypocrites who get what they demand for others and then don’t like it, whether or not it’s the government that does the giving. Hypocrites who want to enslave me but not themselves deserve all the scorn they get, and more.

    2. Of course they aren’t just protesting, they’re preventing the conduct of legitimate business.

    3. When government does this to its own citizens for protesting it’s wrong. Full stop.

      The purpose of a government is to protect the rights of the individual including property rights. The idea is that we allow them a monopoly of violence to carry out that function with the idea that the violence will be held to the minimum.

      Yes, there is violence, but if I have to choose between the violence of the almost certainly lying, howling mob of self righteous progressive morons or the violence of the almost certainly lying LEOs. I am going to notice that the LEOs are protecting private property in this case. Knuckling under to the violence of a lawless mob does no one’s liberty any favors in the longer term

      Saying “get the fuck off my property before I shoot you” is one of those quintessentially American things I accept. I have little patience for the “I feel I am entitled to your rights and property because I am saving the world” crowd.

      1. Fuck the police.

    4. If they stayed on Corps land and danced around a fire I’d agree with you….but they are not. They are fucking with a legally approved project on private property. The Tribe also refused to comment during the comment phase and now say they weren’t consulted. They are lying.

      Not to mention out of state anarchist types looking for a fight who have made up the bulk of the arrests. Fuck ’em.

      1. The out-of-state inciters get no sympathy from me either. There are some people who are just looking for any place they can try to play victim. I think I saw a story in which the protestors were asking people who weren’t specifically invited to stay the hell away.

      2. Anarchists? Fuck the police in the ass.

    5. This and this again

    6. The government didn’t do this for protesting, they did it for impeding others’ lawful activity.

  6. Okay, Doherty – We observe the Fahrenheit temperature scale here in nonCanuckland, so subzero is stretching the story a bit.

    1. SubZero of Mortal Kombat fame must have been metric.

      1. “Killian, here’s your Subzero, now plain zero!”

  7. In eco-crackpots vs cops the only thing we know is nothing anyone says can be trusted.

    1. Right you are. It’s a good read, but it really doesn’t tell us too much we can be sure of. The Native Americans are perfectly fine with the government building a paid-for-by-the-taxpayers highway across the reservation, just not OK with the oil pipeline and fossil fuels needed to run those autos. It’s just much ado about nothing. They’ll all be down at the supermarket next week, buying the fresh veggies trucked in from California.

  8. Well, libertarians, how should this obstruction of legitimate business be stopped, or is it OK with you folks to allow “protestors” to perpetually interfere with whatever industry or commerce it gets into their skulls to hinder?

    Seriously, you guys are full of brilliant theories of how society should be ordered, what would you do?

    1. I think you’ll find that there is no single unifying libertarian theory on this. Freedom to protest is good, and so is the freedom to conduct legitimate business. And that’s okay. It’s okay that people can fail to solve answers to complicated problems. We all acknowledge that it’s not a trite TV drama where the evil corporation is the bad guy and at the end of the episode, MacGuyver will disable all the bulldozers and save the community.

      As a fan of personal liberty, I’m going to side more with the locals than the company in a general sense. It seems like they started working on the pipeline before resolving all disputes about its location. I also think the involvement of excess government agencies really muddles this-you’ve got the Army Corps of Engineers who made an assessment, and then later said that they needed to make ANOTHER assessment, while the company has already started construction and is burning tons of money while waiting on a resolution.

      1. So what prevents the “locals” from blocking any project that bothers their NIMBY sensitivities? There are all manner of roadblocks to projects like this: hearings, statements of need, permits, environmental impact statements, environmental assessments plus two-faced government agencies that bow to political pressure and change their minds mid-project (e.g. the Corps of Engineers in this case). Any one of them is a pressure point allowing obstructionists to object any project to death.

        At some point, the Luddites need to be told to get out of the way or nothing is ever accomplished.

        1. I don’t think any hearings or any interference whatsoever from neighbors for private property is legitimate either. That’s why I’m not for an “ordered society”. I don’t want any planned order, just a pure free market of individual actors.

        2. So what prevents the “locals” from blocking any project that bothers their NIMBY sensitivities?

          Rushing the process, and being as quiet as possible about notifications.

          This is a side effect of excessive regulation and red tape. The process of approving projects like this is so burdensome, that the incentive for even the most moral people involved is to sweep as much of it under the rug as possible. You stop even paying attention to the purpose of the requirements and you just plunge forward meeting those you can, ignoring those you can get away with, and rushing through those you can’t avoid.

          The primary directive simply becomes compliance, and all other concerns are drowned out by that one.

          1. Spot on.

      2. Burn, baby, burn. Just like Philly.

      3. It seems like they started working on the pipeline before resolving all disputes about its location.

        This cannot be the standard. If it is there will never be another construction project in America.

        1. Technically speaking, DAPL and the Corps of Engineers made all the “good faith efforts” that were required of them to get everybody to the table. At least, that’s what the court found.

          The Standing Rock folks allege that their participation in the process was never meaningfully solicited, and that the courts are biased against them. Which is entirely possible. It’s also entirely possible that they’re full of shit, because Native Americans can be full of shit, too. See my comment above re: dearth of good guys involved.

    2. Just allow the property owners to take security into their own hands and everything will be cut and dry.

    3. I’ll start my brilliant theory with, “don’t use water hoses in freezing temperatures.”

      1. Actually, I think it is a pretty brilliant way to disperse protesters non-violently.

        I’ve been tear gassed. I’d much rather get water sprayed on me. Even in cold weather.

  9. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the police are not chucking fragmentation grenades into a crowd of protestors. I’ll be perfectly willing to eat crow should video of a circumstance arises. The counterargument is that the protestors were using explosives themselves and an accident or mishandling caused the injury. I don’t particularly like that explanation either, but it seems slightly more likely.

    That said, fire-hoses in sub-freezing temperatures? That crap absolutely has to stop and there need to be some charges filed. If you assume that not all the protestors are in the best of the health, that’s using a method where you can’t discriminate between any actual violent protestors and people who just happen to be standing nearby, but you’re perfectly fine jeopardizing everyone’s health.

    1. The idiots are endangering their own goddam health in this case.

      1. Right. The idiot cops deserve a few Molotov cocktails.

    2. They claimed it was a concussion grenade (flash bang), not a fragmentation grenade.

      Flash bangs are usually used in dynamic entry situations by swat teams, to stun everyone in the room, so it doesn’t seem like a stretch to think police might have used one there.

      Remember the case where a flash bang was tossed into a baby crib during a swat raid and maimed a 19 month old baby?…..drug-raid/

      1. The baby was at home minding his own business along with his law-abiding family members.

        He wasn’t doing one God damned thing to interfere with the rights of others.

      2. Yes, but it did the baby-maiming by burning someone in close proximity with no way to escape. Serious burns are a known hazard of flashbangs.

        Those pictures sure look like a blast wound, including the elimination of a large section of bone. Which is confirmed by the description of “the arteries, median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm had been ‘blown away'”. That’s a truly bizarrely severe wound if it was caused by a flashbang.

        I’m not expert enough to say for sure, but, my money is that something other than a flashbang caused that wound. It could be done by a true military “offensive” concussion grenade, but those have a serious (two meter or so) lethal radius; the police using them would be like opening fire with live ammo rather than rubber bullets.

        1. Tin soldiers and Nixon coming…

        2. This was also something I was baffled by. Your average flashbang can do serious harm, don’t get me wrong, but essentially blasting someone’s arm off? That’s something I haven’t heard of before. I’m curious what those ‘fragments’ are found to be from. Even your average homemade Molotov (or something similar) isn’t going to actually blast someone’s bones to pieces. There’s more there than meets the eye.

          Even in the sickening case where police flashbanged a baby, you’ll note the baby was not vaporized.

  10. Are these people repeatedly trespassing on private property? If so, remove them and issue one last warning that if they return expect to get shot and possibly killed. Shoot anyone who returns. I’m very tolerant of non-violent civil disobedience on public property and trespassing outside curettage on private property but only to a point.

    SLD: I’d much prefer they get shot by Pinkertons than public employees.

    1. If you’re non-violent then you deserve to get shot/gassed/bombed.

      1. Yes because you are a stupid weak mammal, and should be harvested to feed Your Future Reptilian overlords.

      2. While it can be defined as ‘non violent’ to trespass, after someone repeatedly trespasses onto your property while telling you what you can and can not do with it one would say it becomes something else.

        I suppose a person could say that the land belongs to the tribe, but that ship has sailed over a hundred years ago. While that might be sad, the winners do write the history books. No one is suggesting that we give Ireland back to Italy, for example.

        1. They’ve also started a number of fires, and have been throwing rocks at the police. They were clearly trying to tow the burnt out trucks off the bridge so that a larger mass could storm the police barricade. The police can be forgiven for assuming the protesters weren’t planning on giving them hugs once they succeeded.

          This doesn’t justify indiscriminately spraying peacefully-protesting people in the middle of nowhere in subfreezing temperatures with water with only a couple of tribal healers around for medical care.

          The ethical thing to do is either leave them alone or round these people up, but them in paddy wagons and lock them in jail for trespassing. The unethical thing is to let them continue what they are doing, yet physically attack them periodically. It’s basically the exact same thing we’ve been doing in Syria. And how well is that working out?

  11. Odds are that in the future this will be blamed on Trump?

    1. 120%

    2. In the future?

  12. I do not agree with your framing. Acting against trespassers is not “attack”, it is “defense”.
    That the trespassers were not trying to harm people or destroy property (“nonviolent”) is good as far as it goes, but does not absolve from trespassing.

    Now, it is possible that the protesters are not trespassers, but have a better claim to the land than the current and somehow wrongful owners. This does not come through in your story.

    It is also possible that the usage of force is not proportional to the crime, and therefore becomes aggression. I don’t have enough information about the situation to make a judgement. But to take one of your examples, the use of a water cannon after multiple months of this situation (and assuming ample warnings) does not strike me as unreasonable.

    1. The cops have to go home to their families tonight. If a few people die it’s worth it. Leisure time watching TV is more important than human lives.

    2. Referring to the use of water cannons in below freezing temperatures in an environment where those affected can’t get to warmth fast enough to prevent hypothermia at a minimum as nonlethal stretches the term to meaninglessness. I fully believe in the right of property owners to protect their property and I also believe that one of the legitimate roles of government is to assist in that protection. I’m not seeing any private property owners here. I am seeing what sure as hell looks like the convergence of crony capitalism with police brutality.

      I’ll concede that I don’t know all the facts, and I’d love to hear from someone who does. In the meantime, I’d say that from an ethical perspective there’s an obligation to use the least force necessary. In theory, law enforcement officers are professionally trained to handle situations like this with a minimum of violence and risk of injury to themselves, suspects, or bystanders. If the LEOs on the scene aren’t capable of that, then what’s the point of hiring them in the first place?

      1. The rioters have repeatedly trespassed on ranchers’ land. They’ve vandalized ranchers’ property. Ranchers have many dead and missing cattle. Fences have been cut. They have continuously interfered with peoples right to travel freely by blocking roads.

        A few weeks back they went after a pipeline worker in a high speed chase and literally rammed him off the road. They chased him into a lake, stole his pickup, parked it on the highway, and lit it on fire.

        As far as the water hose; they protesters were advancing on a bridge that the state had to close due to structural concerns a few months ago after the protestors torched two trucks parked on it. They LEO’s repeatedly tell them to stay off it. They warned them they’d get sprayed if they advanced. They advanced, they got wet.

        They protestors making the news aren’t protestors anymore. They are agitators and rioters. I am just as against police brutality as others here, but I think the LEO’s have shown amazing restraint in not giving into their agitation.

        1. I am just as against police brutality as others here, but I think the LEO’s have shown amazing restraint in not giving into their agitation.

          Thank you for saving me all that typing.

        2. I’ll confess I’m not as informed as you seem to be (and I’m glad you brought many things to my attention that I’ve heard nothing about). That said, from all the videos I’ve seen, the police didn’t start hosing people down until they’d already crossed the bridge. There’s very clearly a bridge behind the protestors that seems to have part of the barricade in question on it, and considering where the police line is, I can only assume that is the same bridge.

      2. “…referring to the use of water cannons in below freezing temperatures…”

        Sorry, I’m from L.A. and inexperienced in freeze, but how do you propel frozen water from a hose?

        1. All water everywhere doesn’t immediately freeze in freezing temperatures. If so, ice trays would immediately turn to ice as soon as you close your freezer.

          Moving water especially takes a lot of energy to freeze. Large rivers in Canada do freeze over, but it has to be very cold and takes a very long time.

  13. On further reflection, considering the wound to Sophia Wilansky, I’m going to go so far as to say that one of two things happened:

    A) The police used indiscriminate lethal force (concussion grenades) without remotely sufficient cause, and all the other stuff (the water, the rubber bullets, the spotlights) is pretty trivial compared to that.

    B) The protesters attempted to use indiscriminate lethal force (some sort of explosive) without remotely sufficient cause, and the police use of less-than-lethal force in response (the water, the rubber bullets, the spotlights) was a fully justified method of preserving lives.

    1. From KX News in Bismarck:…

      1. Yeah, there was mention of that stuff in the USA Today report linked above, too.

        Either the police are lying or the protesters are about the “concussion grenades”. I don’t have any real evidence either way (though I can’t imagine why the police would have any in the first place), so I’m withholding judgment as much as possible and hoping the Feds do a competent investigation.

  14. From recent news, maybe the cops should rethink their strategy before more people decide to shoot on site. Preemptive strike as they say.

  15. ‘”In the midst of the clash, the Medic and Healer Council, which was set up to provide health support to those fighting the pipeline, released a statement pleading with police to halt the use of water cannons.”

    Yeah, it’s the cops fault that 200 people got sprayed with water. None of those people had any idea they were going to get sprayed with water while being told repeatedly to retreat or get sprayed with water.

    I get it that Reason’s favorite sport is calling cops thugs (usually for good reason). But this story is a stretch. I live in North Dakota and have been following this story since day one. Regardless of the crap the “water protectors” spew, the real story here is the lack of police brutality. This ceased to be a peaceful protest months ago. The professional protestors and eco-terrorists are doing what they do best; breaking laws and pushing cops to use too much force. The police have showed amazing restraint.

  16. All these loving and prayerful activist have misinterpreted (intentionally or not) their passive-aggressive behavior as peaceful. The problem is passive aggression only stays passive as long as it’s working. Once it stops working, it escalates into active aggression.

  17. Has Reason yet to do a piece on the actually veracity of the various claims these protesters have made? Are they factual or are the protests just a form of coercive violence to overcome a legal decision they do not like?

    The only thing I have seen on this is an Independent Institute piece basically saying that these guys were full of shit. Which I can easily believe, but would like for someone else to actually pay attention to. It seems that the only coverage I keep hearing is about “police abuse” without anyone bothering to mention whether the grievances brough by these protesters have any basis in reality.

    1. Has Reason yet to do a piece on the actually veracity of the various claims these protesters have made?

      No they have not. But it’s a pretty damn tangled mess. No one involved seems to be being entirely honest.

      From what I’ve seen, the basis of the protesting is essentially that the land the reservoir is on was granted to the Sioux nation and then unfairly confiscated through eminent domain about 55 years ago. But the eminent domain taking was to build the reservoir that now provides water to the reservation. I don’t believe they are arguing that they no longer want the water.

      So I think you could say the reality is that the attitude from the protesters is “this is the last straw on white people’s treatment of Native Americans,” without it really being any more specific than that.

      One irony is that if there’s one clear villain here in the broader historical context, it’s the US Army, but the protesters see the main villain as the oil company. Because oil company. We all know the history of oil company oppression of Native Americans, right?

      1. The “water protector” garbage is just that – dozens of pipelines already cross the river, and insisting that tanker trucks cross the river instead is 100% worse environmentally speaking.

        The BS that the pipeline was moved to protect Bismark’s water quality is also silly – people act like that reservoir only serves the reservation – far from it. To all appearances (and I haven’t been able to confirm this) the present route was chosen precisely because of the existing pipelines that already use that same route – i.e. to minimize new impacts.

  18. So, am I to understand that this has turned into a contest to see who can tell the most unbelievable lies?

    1. No, the election ended a couple weeks ago.

  19. Update: There are some indications (which I’d like to see double-checked) that the protesters lied about the concussion grenade thing……..-wilansky/

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