In the first part of this essay, we began to touch on the relationship between Energy Transfer Partners, and the local, state, and regional law enforcement. How they worked together to make sure people weren't allowed to have a voice in peaceful and prayerful resistance against fossil fuels. I guess the next step is to just start talking about all the illegal, wrong, and just plain weird things that happened in the name of "Justice".
-A good starting point would be identification. I arrived at Standing Rock in October of 2016, and was present until even after all the camps had closed. At some point early in the movement, the law enforcement decided to quit identifying themselves. Half of the police force would hide their faces from public. Hidden behind the masks were 99% white males. At some point they must have had a meeting, or sent out some bulletin to stop wearing name tags to identify officers. You would ask them for their name, and they would not respond. When people were being arrested, arresting officers would put an officer number, and not a name. I documented what was taking place by law enforcement for nearly 6 months. I don't recall EVER seeing a name tag located on an officer, or ever heard an officer give a name. Now, I want that to sink in...
...sink in yet?
...Ok, now remember that over 50 different law enforcement groups showed up to Standing Rock. North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana Nebraska, highway patrol, state patrol, sheriffs, policemen, swat units, the list goes on and on. As far as a recall, I never witnessed an identification tag on any of them. The police claim that it was out of fear of being harassed. On the contrary tho, law enforcement did a lot of things that would be considered criminal, but officers couldnt be held accountable BECAUSE NOBODY COULD VERIFY WHICH ONE OF THEM DID IT. From what I have been told, the same could officers have been the "arresting officers" at most of the court cases regarding the arrests of Water Protectors. A couple fall guys to help protect the rest of the group for persecution for things they may or may have not done on their frontlines..
Damn. That was 2 paragraphs, and all we did was discuss identification. This essay may be long.
-The very first action I went to document was on 10/10. Indigenous Peoples day, and 'Eagle and Condor Day', a day when tribes from both North America, and South America met at a Dakota Access construction site. The event was based around the connection of the two cultures, and to pray together at the pipeline. When we arrived the construction workers were a good quarter mile up the path of the dirt road. There were pieces of the pipeline scattered near the entrance, but the construction team was a pretty good distance away. Far enough to say they couldnt possibly be threatened. Water Protectors set up tipi pole structure near the entrance of the pipeline path from the road. Inside the tipi, Water Protectors sat down and began to pray. I assume people expected the police to show up. They did. They came marching down the street in formation. Being followed by a school bus style bus being driven by a member of the national guard, the police set up a wall of officers between the people praying, and the supporters on the public roadside. Since this was the Eagle meets the Condor Day, the Aztecs still came out and celebrated the day with dance. In front of the officers, the Aztec wore full regalia, and danced traditional steps in support for the tribes praying in the tipi a couple hundred meters away. Police stood between the 2 groups. Those in the tipi were not near any construction workers, touch any of the pipes, but were just there praying. The police gave the Water Protectors in the tipi about a half hour of time. Then from a side road, 2 vans with tinted windows pulled up and parked near the tipi. One by one police began to arrest people in the tipi. An elder with her chanupa. A legal observer. And then a 19 year old girl. If you check part 1 of this article, you can see a photo where an officer had his knee on her neck while arresting her. Thats a civil violation. Officers are trained not to put knees on peoples heads when arresting them. It can cause spinal damage, and has been banned. This was after they dragged her out of the tipi. When nobody is wearing a name tag, its hard to hold that cop accountable for it...so...
Well, its 3AM, and I'm tired. Trying to paint a picture of what was taking place in North Dakota is going to take quite a while, and trying to explain all the messed up things that law enforcement did out there is going to take a lot longer than expected at this rate. Shit, I just covered the tip of the iceberg, and its already 5 paragraphs or so in. Either way, I'm not going to sum it all up tonight.
Part 3 coming soon, I guess.