On Friday a group of North Dakota cops, led by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, wrote a scathing letter to President Barack Obama blasting the federal government’s response to the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Or, more specifically, the lack of a response. You can read the whole letter below.
“It is our concern that if we do not receive federal assistance, the safety and well-being of law enforcement officers, citizens of the community, and the protestors themselves are at grave risk,” the cops write.
The federal government’s response to the events in our community has been appalling, and it is abundantly clear they have no interest in helping the citizens of North Dakota. Frankly, our federal leaders should be ashamed of their lack of response to a dangerous crisis currently in progress on their own soil. Each day this lack of response continues only serves to empower criminal protestors and support lawlessness in the name of radical political agendas.
As our law enforcement officers are forced to spend countless days away from their families – missing holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries – the knowledge that the federal government could supply assistance, but refuses to do so, is unbelievably disheartening. Our officers are facing direct and overt threats, not just to themselves but to their families, and the lack of intervention or sympathy from the federal government is truly staggering.
Kirchmeier and the eleven other letter signatories – all from North Dakota law enforcement agencies – point out that when #NoDAPL protesters have targeted federal offices in our state such as the federal building and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices in Bismarck local law enforcement has responded.
But the feds have done nothing to back up the local cops in the face of thousands of protesters engaging in riotous, violent, and illegal behavior. The only help the State of North Dakota has received has been from other states sending law enforcement personnel and equipment to the protest areas in response to requests made by our state through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, but that help isn’t coming any more thanks to political pressure.
“Early on we had a number of states support our request for peace officer support,” Major General Al Dohrmann of the North Dakota National Guard told me earlier this month. “Unfortunately, all jurisdictions that supported us were subject to protest in their own cities and capitols for providing support to North Dakota, along with intense pressure from various groups to not support North Dakota’s efforts to maintain the peace and rule of law.”
In other words, protesters working in solidarity with #NoDAPL sought to keep North Dakota cops isolated from any reinforcement from other states. And they seem to have had an ally in President Barack Obama whose administration has withheld federal assistance as well.
That’s dangerous and irresponsible.
It’s one thing for the Obama administration to oppose the pipeline and support the #NoDAPL protests. It’s quite another to help create a dangerous situation in which cops, protesters, and/or members of the public could be harmed.
But chaos and danger, I guess, are more conducive to the preferred political narrative.
Discussion question: We’ve heard a lot from the #NoDAPL protesters and their allies about how awful the North Dakota law enforcement response has been. You know the Obama administration is aware of those accusations. If the Obama administration believed those claims to be true (and they’re not) wouldn’t that be all the more reason for federal intervention?
You’d think. But again, the guiding light here is politics not reasonable concerns for public safety and the rule of law.
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