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

Message to Sheriff Stanek: Bring Deputies, Equipment Home from Standing Rock Now!

Approximately 400 people showed up for the noon rally near the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to demand the end of county support for intimidating the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Hundreds attended a noon rally Tuesday to protest the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office decision to deploy equipment and personnel against the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Approximately 400 Native Americans, faith leaders, environmentalists and their allies rallied near Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek’s Office Tuesday to tell him it was unacceptable, even shameful, to send Hennepin County’s special ops personnel and equipment to North Dakota to suppress and intimidate the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

MPR reports that North Dakota law enforcement officials said today “they are poised to remove about 200 protesters trying to halt the completion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota after the demonstrators refused to leave private land owned by the pipeline company.” This appears to more deeply involve our Hennepin County deputies in the conflict — and on the wrong side of the conflict.

Continue reading