Is the U.S. government an accomplice in North Dakota protests?
It reads like a provocative headline, but is it? When peaceful protests turn violent like they have in North Dakota, where is the U.S. government to end violence and resume the peace?
Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced that he has activated the North Dakota National Guard with the hopes of quelling the recent spate of violent protests near Dakota Access construction sites.
However, there appears to be more to this story. CBS Evening News last night reported that the tribal protesters are actually camped out on federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. At a press conference with Governor Dalrymple yesterday, he admitted that the protesters are camped without a permit. Many of them have destroyed private property or been arrested for violent acts.
The protesters appear to be planning, assembling, and coordinating their protests – including criminal acts and trespassing – on federal U.S. Army Corps land before moving onto private soil to conduct protests. Once the crime occurs, they are retreating to a camp – a safe harbor of sorts – on federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. So where has the federal government been to disband these violent protests on federal land and restore order?
CBS News: Image of tribal protesters camped on federal Army Corps land.
It begs the question – if the federal government is giving safe harbor to protesters (some of whom are violent assailants), aren’t they condoning the violence?
On Saturday, more than 250 Native protesters stormed the gates of a construction area in North Dakota and attacked 14 workers doing their jobs. Earlier this week Jill Stein of the Green Party was arrested for damaging equipment. Other equipment has been destroyed causing millions in damage. And overnight, five pipeline workers were assaulted in the Bismarck area – none on the jobs and each carrying out their normal lives.
To date, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier has appeared to be standing alone without assistance from state or federal officials. While the government has procedures that could bring apply special U.S.
Marshall deputization locally, it appears that no such designation or assistance have been provided to the local law enforcement that he oversees.
As a result, there was even a petition circulated this week calling for the Sheriff’s resignation. According to the post, protestors are calling for, “removal of Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton county sheriff’s office, North Dakota and calling for an ethics investigation into this office.”
The state and federal government owe it to the Native community, activists, and all North Dakotans to help maintain the peace. Their absence certainly seems to be playing a role in the escalating nature of the protests.