Congress Needs to Investigate Corporate Influence on Law Enforcement’s DAPL Response

An Open Letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, and Rep. Keith Ellison:

Regardless of your view on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), I hope we all can agree that the standoff and violence that occurred near Standing Rock should never have happened. We must learn from this tragic event.

In that regard, I ask you to investigate the actions of the National Sheriffs’ Association and  its role in doing opposition research against water protectors and its ties and coordination with TigerSwan, the private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to protect DAPL. This should include a review of the rationale and appropriateness of the law enforcement tactics used.

Screen capture of 2016 video showing the heavily militarized response to water protectors.

This is a national issue. Law enforcement  from several states — including Minnesota — were deployed to Morton County, North Dakota through mutual assistance agreements. What are the lessons these law enforcement agents will take back to their home communities?

This should be of particular to concern to those of us in Minnesota. Canadian company Enbridge Line 3 has proposed expanding a tar sands crude pipeline through the state, called Line 3. It would run from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, and includes 337 miles of pipeline through Minnesota. It would cross the Mississippi River, twice, and cross many wild rice lakes. This project most likely will provoke a similar resistance movement as happened in North Dakota. (See MPR story: Minn. oil pipeline fight stokes threats, fears of Standing Rock.)

How will we respond if and when that happens?

We need a thorough review of law enforcement’s response at Standing Rock so that we don’t repeat the mistakes that were made.

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Non-Violent Protest Success: Wells Fargo Agrees to Meet with Standing Rock Elders About DAPL

From Unicorn Riot site
From Unicorn Riot site

Wells Fargo has agreed today to meet with Standing Rock elders about the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). It was a victory for non-violent protesting. The decision followed a four-hour “lock-down” at Wells Fargo’s downtown Minneapolis headquarters, sparked non-Native allies opposed to DAPL.

Thanks to Unicorn Riot for providing a live feed of the event. (It is still on line and available for viewing.) It was not clear from what I saw what group (if any) was leading the protest. Six people had locked themselves together in two groups of three. Tubes connected their arm to form a chain to keep people from accessing elevators. A number of other people were in the building’s  lobby providing moral support and communications.

The action succeeded in getting a meeting with Jon R. Campbell, Head of Government and Community Relations for Wells Fargo & Company. The group hoped for a press release and a public announcement. They settled for a letter. Continue reading