On Saturday, paramilitary outfitted law enforcement used mace and brutal force on the peaceful Water Protectors who were stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built. One hundred and forty-one people were arrested that day, including journalists, and one was sent to the hospital after being hit on the wrist with a police baton. An officer threw a Native Woman to the ground with her face buried in the mud and his knees on her neck and lower back. She was peaceful and had not resisted arrest, yet he used this level of abuse on her. There have also been reports from those arrested of waterboarding, hooding, and “dog cages” being built to hold more people.
The police have confiscated people’s phones in an attempt to censor them from sharing the abuses that have transpired there. The ND government has not only arrested journalists, but has attempted to charge them with trespassing and rioting and one documentary filmmaker now faces up to 45 years in prison.
North Dakota Governor Dalrymple has used the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request law enforcement across the U.S. to assist in Cannon Ball, ND. EMAC is intended for state agencies to share resources during natural disasters and state of emergencies, such as Hurricane Matthew. As the EMAC website describes the program: “Through EMAC, states are able to join forces and help one another out when they need it most: whenever disaster strikes!” However, Dalrymple is using it to protect the oil industry and abuse Native People.
The National Guard was activated on September 8, but now out-of-state law enforcement are also pouring into the area. Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Indiana — whose Governor is also the Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence — have sent law enforcement to North Dakota. Protests erupted Tuesday in Minneapolis, MN to bring back Sheriff’s deputies. Despite Sheriff Mahoney’s racist, blatant lies regarding the behavior of Native People at Standing Rock, Wisconsin has pulled their deputies from ND.
On Monday, a new frontline camp with a blockade was formed on the unceded territory, protected by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, where the Dakota Access Pipeline has yet to build. This camp is on the final three miles of the DAPL route before it will cross under the Missouri River. Law enforcement’s presence has grown infinitely since the camp’s creation. The police have completely closed Highway 1806, including for medical emergencies.
By bringing in more law enforcement there will be more arrests, police brutality, and a much higher likelihood of dead Native People at the hands of the government. With more non-Native men also brings a higher rate of sexual violence against Native girls and women. Many of those arrested have been sexually assaulted by law enforcement through the use of unnecessary strip searches, including underage girls.
As of Wednesday, those on the frontlines were bracing for the worst. They were slowly being surrounded by heavily militarized law enforcement. Despite this, the Water Protectors are standing strong and calling for more Warriors to come and protect the water and Native way of life.