Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

On Aug. 27, the day following the four-day ‘Treaty Not Tar Sands’ rally, law enforcement turned out en masse to evict anyone who hadn’t left. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

[Note: This updates an Oct. 26 post with new information. The Oct. 26 post has been taken down.]

Minnesota state government spent $1.6 million in law enforcement, concrete barricades, and chain link fencing to “protect” the Capitol during the Treaties Not Tars Sands event, Aug. 23-27, according to data provided by the Department of Administration and the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Seven other agencies responded to DPS’s request for aid. Their costs are not included in that figure.

It’s another chapter in excessive policing of water protectors. It stands in stark contrast to the state’s lax response to Enbridge’s permit violations and the environmental damage done during construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

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How will Minnesota law enforcement respond to Line 3 protests?

Hint: It’s a secret

Almost two years ago, Unicorn Riot published an investigative piece on how the state of Minnesota was preparing to respond to expected protests over construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. (Multi-Agency Task Force Prepares “Rules of Engagement” For Line 3 Protests.)

It pulled the curtain back on the “Northern Lights Task Force,” a group that was “stockpiling equipment and training police in preparation for Line 3 pipeline protests across the state.”

The coordination involved law enforcement agencies from states across the region including Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Documents showed that state officials had created an incident ‘Mobile Response Teams’ (or ‘MRTs’) to rapidly deploy and “confront any protest against the pipeline” in each of the State Patrol districts.

More than four months ago, when it began to look like the state would approved Line 3, Healing Minnesota Stories wrote the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to ask for basic information on the Northern Lights Task Force.

So far, the department hasn’t provided any information.

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