Regarding the Escalating Situation at Standing Rock

It has been reported that the security officers who were on duty to secure and protect the Dakota Access Pipeline on September 3 were not properly licensed to provide security in North Dakota. The North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board, which regulates the private security industry, began the investigation after reports of encounters between protesters – who were illegally trespassing – and security personnel and their trained canines.

Despite the fact that it was the security personnel who were attacked on that day, the MAIN Coalition believes that presence of canines was regrettable. To our knowledge, since the incident nearly two months ago, on-site security have not used canines.  We had hoped that this would’ve lessened tensions in the area, but it has not.

In fact, protesters have only grown more emboldened and continued to show a blatant disregard for the law and law enforcement officials. Just yesterday, for example, Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney warned protesters that they could face arrest if they do not disperse from their illegal roadblock that is impeding the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to a news report, Sheriff Laney said, “If there’s a confrontation, they’ve chosen to have it because we’ve tried everything we can over the last 2½ months not to have it.”

Over the past several months there have been repeated violations of trespassing on to private land, vandalism, killing of livestock, destruction of equipment, media intimidation, and threats against community members, police and pipeline workers.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has now become a spectacle – a cause celebre – that is rivaled only by Red Carpet Awards shows in its ability to attract Hollywood glitterati.  And that attention has masked the lawless behavior that continues daily.

The MAIN Coalition supports the local police officers who are working tirelessly to protect the people and property in the area and recognize that, to date, about 90 percent of those people who have been arrested are from outside of North Dakota.  We believe that the federal government – specifically the FBI – should get involved in the criminal investigations of those non-North Dakotans who are arrested. Local law enforcement needs the support and the people of North Dakota and the pipeline workers are entitled to live in a safe, harassment free environment.