Protesters aiming to block the Dakota Access Pipeline have raised millions of dollars for their efforts, and many of those dollars are going to support unlawful protest activities. From supplies for camps established illegally on federal land and private land – and even, last week, the middle of Highway 1806 – to bail for protesters arrested for a host of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, the #NoDAPL movement has consumed a lot of dollars.
“What’s being funded is a coordinated criminal enterprise,” Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley said when I asked him about the donations. “It is a platform for unlawful activity.”
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”What’s being funded is a coordinated criminal enterprise,” Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley said when I asked him about the donations. “It is a platform for unlawful activity.”[/mks_pullquote]
I asked Wrigley if it was worth exploring whether or not there was any legal recourse against those groups helping to fund and organize attacks on the pipeline project and state law enforcement officers. Wrigley said that’s “a good question” and said he thought it may be something Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office is already looking into.
Wrigley also said the federal government shares some of the blame for exacerbating the situation in south central North Dakota. “We’ve learned to pay attention to their actions and frankly the inaction,” he said, referring to the federal government’s reticence to remove unlawful protest camps from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land.
“If their intention was to protract this…then they’ve accomplished their objective,” he said, adding that the unlawful protesters are “being given comfort by the federal government.”
Wrigley also suggested that Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault may one day come to regret the protests.
“Chairman Archambault doesn’t control this,” Wrigley said, referring to the protests. “He doesn’t acknowledge that publicly but there will come a day when he will.”
It does seem as though some of the #NoDAPL organizers are at least trying to get things under control. Today comes news that Cody Hall, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and leader of the Red Warrior camp, has been asked to leave the camp. The Red Warrior camp is one of the most violent factions of the protests.
So this is a positive development. Let’s hope the protesters finally begin to recognize that there really are problems with violence and unlawful activities in their movement.
Here’s the full audio:
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