Powerful Video: Tribal Elder Tells Cops “I Told Them Not to Do This” During #NoDAPL Riot

A man describing himself as a tribal elder speaks with a member of North Dakota law enforcement as police advanced on an illegal roadblock of Highway 1806 in October. Screenshot via Morton County Video

Photos and video of the #NoDAPL riot last week – the one which saw protesters block a highway – continue to trickle out from law enforcement sources.

You can see the latest batch from Morton County here, but a few of the clips caught my eye. In particular this one which shows a man named Robert who describes himself as a tribal elder talking to law enforcement officers who were slowly advancing on the highway barricade.

“I’m with you on this,” Robert tells the officers in the line. The pain and anxiety is clear in his face. He’s upset about what’s happening, and his blame is not toward the cops.

“We’ve been trying to tell them not to block the roadway, but they do not listen to us the elders,” he continues.

“We’re with you on this,” he adds. “We do not want the roadway blocked. There’s a way to do this and a way not to do this.”

Unfortunately so much of the national media coverage of this riot has been heavily slanted in favor of the protesters. Even as the protesters illegally blocked a public highway, and met law enforcement officers trying to disperse them with fire and bombs and violence, many in the media depicted the situation as one of law enforcement aggression against peaceful demonstrators.

But listen to how the cop in this video responds to Robert. “We we want to do is everyone who is on the highway just go to the south camp,” the officer, who I can’t identify, says. “The only people who are going to be arrested is if they don’t comply,” he continues.

Backing up the officer’s comments is this video in which you can hear officers telling the protesters that they have time to retrieve personal things from their illegal camp on private property before they leave. Which is hardly the sort of thing you’d expect from a bunch of jack-booted thugs looking to quash a peaceful protest:

Meanwhile, to Robert’s point about how not all of the protesters supported the roadblock or other unlawful, violent activities, watch this video of some protesters trying to take down the roadblock as law enforcement officials advance while other protesters fight their efforts. I believe that’s Robert in the middle in the blue coat and hat:

This video shows some protesters trying to calm down a clearly overwrought man who was screaming and trying to inflame those around him. “Calm down,” you can hear one of the protesters saying:

In an interview yesterday Morton County Commissioner Cody Schulz told me that, in meetings with federal officials, it has become clear that the feds have a distorted view of these protests seen through the lens of heavily biased national media coverage.

That’s not at all hard to believe. What many national media reporters and pundits say about the #NoDAPL movement doesn’t often match what we can see with our own two eyes if we bother to look.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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