PATRIOT NEWS: We oppose all violence.
By Claire Burnish
In response to an increasingly furious public outcry, sheriffs from around the country have refused to send personnel and equipment to assist the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in guarding construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A massive campaign of angry phone calls and indignant emails to departments planning to travel to North Dakota succeeded in persuading multiple sheriffs — elected officials — the brutal tactics used against peaceful Standing Rock Sioux and other water protectors have been a gross abuse of power.
That law enforcement have employed disproportionate force against water protectors is irrefutable; and while Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier might technically be tasked with ensuring Dakota Access can proceed where legally permitted, he is indisputably responsible for protecting people exercising their First Amendment rights.
Clearly, to the appalled constituents and people around the world voicing outrage against Morton County and other departments, officers have completely dismissed that protection — and, instead, acted as a rogue standing army, intentionally targeting medics, journalists, and water protectors with everything from rubber bullets and tear gas, to icy water and concussion grenades.
Sheriffs concerned about the heinous use of force — not to mention, re-election — have wisely reconsidered requests to join what has, in essence, become a war against Indigenous peoples interested only in preserving uncontaminated water for future generations.
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