Sheriff on Latest #NoDAPL Incident: “That Was Not a Protest. That Was Not Prayerful. That Was a Riot.”


Earlier today we got news that another couple of dozen #NoDAPL protesters had been arrested, including actress Shaielene Woodley.

This afternoon in a press conference Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney absolutely unloaded on what he described as a “riot.”

“That was not a protest,” he told reporters. “That was not prayerful. That was a riot.”

Laney said more than a hundred cars departed protest camps to two work sites for the Dakota Access Pipeline where protesters broke down fences and disregarded “no trespassing” signs. Two of the protesters locked themselves to equipment and were removed by law enforcement officers.

According to Laney, these activities caused schools in Flasher and St. Anthony to go on lock down again today. He said the St. Anthony school has been shut down “four or five times” in the last week due to the protesters.

“What about other people’s rights?” Laney asked, saying the protesters don’t seem to care about the impacts their actions have on others. “There are other Americans who have rights as well.”

Laney said law enforcement officers were shouted at. He described one incident where protesters attempted to surround an deputy making an arrest with a banner in order to block him off from the view of other officers.

“Today was very tense,” he added, drawing a distinction between today’s “riot” and previous protests at the state capitol in Bismarck which he said were peaceful, lawful, and coordinated with authorities.

Laney said there are “two to three hundred” protesters who engage in this sort of activity and that they’re distinct from the thousands of protesters overall who have encamped in south central North Dakota.

That’s something we’ve been hearing consistently from other sources as well, that there are factions within the #NoDAPL movement including an extremist faction responsible for much of the violence and criminal activity we’ve seen.

Asked if he felt these sort of incidents were going to become an every day occurrence, Laney said the job of law enforcement is to protect lawful activity. “The courts have spoken,” he said, pointing out that the pipeline company has the legal authority to proceed with construction.

Meanwhile, here’s two hours of video shot by Woodley of the protest and her subsequent arrest. I can’t tell if my favorite part is her screeching about how the cops have guns (what does she think they carry water balloons?) or the part where she thinks the arrests for trespass aren’t warranted because, after the act of trespassing, they also stopped trespassing.

Which is kind of like thinking that you aren’t guilty of theft if you back later and put the stuff back.

Discussion question: Do you think Woodley’s RV runs on fossil fuels, or did she peddle it down there?