After yesterday’s riot I had on Lt. Tom Iverson, spokesman for the North Dakota Highway Patrol, for an update on the #NoDAPL situation.
During our conversation, which you can listen to in full below, Iverson launched some criticism of the way the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the law enforcement response to them have been covered.
“Some of the media coverage that’s done here, we’ve got to remember who are readers are, who our subscribers are, who are paying for these newspapers,” Iverson told me. “That’s North Dakota citizens. Telling the story of an out of state agitator, it’s starting to get a little old.”
“There are some of those media outlets out there who seem to want to concentrate on the out of state agitators and giving them a voice and giving the criminal agitators a voice. That’s not appropriate,” he added.
He didn’t name a specific media outlet.
Iverson also addressed criticism of law enforcement’s use of a fire hose – he corrected me when I used the term “water cannon” – to control the crowd on the Backwater Bridge last night. He said the fire hose was used to put out fires by the protesters and also to “clear protesters from the front lines.” He said protesters on the other side of a barricade from law enforcement were tinkering with a vehicle there and the hose was used as a means to keep them back.
“We don’t want to spray people with water, but when they refuse to back off the bridge after multiple warnings we spray them with water,” Iverson told me.
“I don’t see what the big deal is,” he added. “It’s water.”
Law enforcement has estimated that roughly 400 protesters participated in last night’s right, and he estimated that about 1,500 – 3,500 people are still in the protest camps despite falling temperatures.
Iverson said law enforcement would like to remove the barricade at the Backwater Bridge but will only do so if the protesters allow Department of Transportation Inspectors to inspect the bridge and after #NoDAPL leaders give law enforcement some assurances about protest activities.
Here’s the full audio: