There was a lot of drama earlier today as Dakota Access Pipeline protesters locked themselves to construction equipment along state Highway 6 south of Mandan (this is a different location from where the protests have been taking place to date). The last protester has been unlocked from the construction machinery, and arrests have been made.
I, like many of you, watched events unfold by way of various live streams on social media. I cringed as foul-mouthed protesters taunted law enforcement officers and construction workers, but amid the ugliness was a moment of grace.
One of the law enforcement personnel who had been working on cutting a protester loose from an excavator was being taunted as a “pig” and worse, all the while keeping his cool. And, when some of the protesters offered food and water for the man locked to the excavator, the cop helped feed him and gave him a drink.
I cut out an excerpt of the video (full version here). CONTENT WARNING: There is some rough language being used.
I can’t even imagine the level of self control it takes to work in conditions like that, taunted and insulted by on-lookers even as you try to protect the person you’re trying to arrest. Even to the point of ensuring they get some food and water during the ordeal they created.
Also, you can hear several of the protesters demanding to know the identities of the law enforcement officers on the scene. As I wrote yesterday, the officers have stopped wearing their name tags due to incidents involving threats to specific officers being identified online. The officers were divulging their badge numbers, and several of the protesters can be seen writing them down.
On a related note, there was some ugly racial rhetoric flying around the protest, and not directed towards the Native American protesters either. Some of the law enforcement and security personnel on the scene were African American. They were taunted by the protesters because of their race. I clipped some video of what appears to be a private security contractor being taunted as a “slave for these white folks.”
And that was probably one of the nicer things said to him (full video here). CONTENT WARNING, there is some very rough language in this one too.
Again, it’s remarkable the amount of restraint these professionals are showing in a very sensitive situation.