One thing that’s been impressive about the #NoDAPL movement is their ability to flood the zone on social media with their messaging. They can take even a patently false rumor and make it spread like wildfire.
Some of the crazier claims protesters have made is that a girl was shot at a protest by a police sniper (false), that Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren was disparaging Native Americans on Twitter (also false), that photos of the protests have been suppressed (debunked), and that the State of North Dakota cut off water supplies for the protests (wrong).
The latest is this Facebook post from an account called Standing Rock Rising claiming that two law enforcement officers have turned in their badges in a show of solidarity with the #NoDAPL movement. It has nearly 25,000 shares as I write this, and over 1,400 comments.
The problem? It’s simply not true.
The personnel in the picture are members of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
“No, it’s not true, as far as our agency goes,” NDHP spokesman Lt. Tom Iverson told me this morning. “I’m not aware of any.”
“I haven’t heard of that at all,” he added.
Iverson contacted me again after speaking to people representing the law enforcement agencies from other states which sent personnel here to assist. “It’s completely false regarding the badges being turned in,” he told me.
I also reached out to Morton County spokeswoman Donnell Preskey about this rumor, and she said definitively that it is not true for Morton County or any of the departments assisting with the protests.
“I checked with Morton, Mandan, Bismarck, Burleigh, Cass, Stutsman – all say there is no truth to this,” she told me in an email. “Just another rumor.”