Hennepin County Board Chair Backs Sheriff’s Decision to Send Deputies to Standing Rock, and More Pipeline Updates

Hennepin County Board Chair Jan Callison supports Sheriff Richard Stanek’s decision to send deputies to North Dakota, according to an email she is sending out in response to constituent opposition to the move.

Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey counties all have sent deputies and equipment as part of a militarized response to the Water Protectors trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Morton County (ND) Sheriff’s Department sought the help through a mutual aid agreement. Stanek’s decision to send deputies has sparked protests. Many Hennepin County residents oppose using local resources to intimidate and arrest the Water Protectors. (Here is an earlier blog.)

Callison said ultimately this was Stanek’s decision, but she supports it based on what she framed as safety concerns. Her email said: “the presence of professional, highly trained law enforcement officers can contribute to a peaceful resolution of highly inflamed situations such as this, a resolution where the rights of all are respected. I think the right answer is to have the right people present who will contribute positively to a fair resolution. And I believe that Sheriff Stanek understands this responsibility.”

That is to say, unlike private security guards, the Hennepin County Sheriffs deputies won’t use mace and attack dogs. However, it still means that our local resources are being used as a part of a disproportionate, highly militarized, and provocative response to silence the Water Protectors. With the current tremendous power imbalance, it is reasonable to ask whether this truly is “a resolution where the rights of all are respected”  or in any way fair. To me, the answer is no.

Here is Callison’s full email, provided by her office.

Many groups have organized against this decision. For example, the Sierra Club North Star Chapter has a letter urging Hennepin County to withdraw its resources. Click to sign.

For many more pipeline updates, keep reading. Continue reading

Guest Blog on Standing Rock: ELCA Pastor Joann Conroy (Oglala Sioux); This Day in History

ELCA Pastor Joann Conroy (Oglala), President of the American Indian/Alaska Native Lutheran Association, wrote the following guest blog in response to the recent arrests of water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Today I am still struggling with the horror of Thursday and the continued abuse and dehumanization of the people who are jailed. I know that many people are rallying to support Standing Rock . We attended a rally in MN yesterday to ask the Hennepin Sheriff to withdraw his officers, who were at the front of the abuse. Every state that has law enforcement in North Dakota should withdraw them ASAP.

In my truth , President Obama can now stop the slaughter of our people, culture, and life.

As a pastor I have preached and counseled Christs’ Grace , love, sacrifice and humanity. I know that all is true but where was it for the people?

What does it mean to say today: “the Lord is the strength of my life; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27) What does it mean to say: “I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; wait for the Lord; be strong; let your heart take courage.” (Psalm 27) Where is the word of life when hearts are shattered? How do we stand together against white privilege, racism, discrimination and the “power” of officials?

We will return to Standing Rock in the days to come . Will continue to work to rally support even as I wrestle with the horror of October 27, 2016.

Wopila (Thank you)
Wolakota (peace)

Pr. Joann, President
AIANLC Continue reading