Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Calls Criticism Over #NoDAPL Protests Response “Inaccurate and Offensive”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton meets with reporters Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. Don Davis / Forum News Service

Yesterday I wrote a post about the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association ripping Governor Mark Dayton in a letter over his handling of EMAC requests from the State of North Dakota for assistance in dealing with the #NoDAPL protests.

At times those protests involved thousands of activists who blocked roads, attacked law enforcement officers, and vandalized millions of dollars worth of construction equipment. North Dakota officials sent out requests to other states for assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

The Minnesota Sheriff’s Association said Dayton withheld information about North Dakota’s requests for political reasons, and suggested that the EMAC system might need to be revised to avoid politics in the future (read their letter here).

This evening I can provide Dayton’s response to the MSA, which you can read in full below.

It’s a document full of contradictions. Dayton says his decision wasn’t political, but accuses North Dakota officials of a political response to the situation. He says he didn’t withhold information about the request for assistance, but also says it was his intent to keep Minnesota law enforcement from helping with the protest response.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dayton concludes the letter by calling the MSA’s characterizations of his decisions “inaccurate and offensive.”

North Dakota desperately needed assistance from other states during the protests. The state simply did not have enough officers to police a volatile protest involving thousands of activists in rural south central North Dakota while continuing to meet the more routine law enforcement needs of the rest of the state. But because of political obstruction, including public pressure brought on departments in other states by left wing activists, the state didn’t always get what it needed.

“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 in December. “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.”

This shortage of personnel put our law enforcement officers, the protesters, and the general public in danger.

That’s that travesty.

I cannot fathom why Dayton sees politics in North Dakota’s handling of the protests. The cops were on hand to enforce the law. The question of whether or not the pipeline should be built has always been a matter for the politicians and the courts.

I had contacted Governor Doug Burgum’s office earlier today about this matter, but they didn’t have a comment because at the time Dayton hadn’t yet issued his response to the MSA.

I’ll have James Franklin, executive director of the MSA, on my radio show tomorrow at 1:00pm to discuss Dayton’s response.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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