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County sheriff announces additional arrests of #NoDAPL resisters






Law enforcement in Morton County, North Dakota, responded with a strong show of force to a #NoDAPL resistance action on September 28, 2016. Photo by Rob Wilson Photography [GoFundMe]

Social media lit up with reports of yet another confrontation in North Dakota as law enforcement announced arrests of 21 #NoDAPL resisters.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier confirmed that his deputies responded to two incidents on Wednesday. During one, he said someone rode a horse towards an officer.

"A charging horse combined with totality of the situation presented an imminent threat to the officer," Kirchmeier said in a press release.

The officer raised a weapon during the incident but it contained "less-lethal ammunition," Kirchmeier said.

Kirchmeier also confirmed that he sent "armored vehicles" to the area. Photos taken by Rob Wilson [GoFundMe] and shared by the Sacred Stone Camp show officers sporting weapons and riot-style gear.

But, again, Kirchmeier said the officers were armed with "less lethal ammunition using bean-bag rounds."

Kirchmeier also sought to dispel a rumor circulating on social media and among the #NoDAPL resisters. There was no use of tear gas or other chemicals -- a small plane that was seen flying over the area was merely a crop duster, he said.

Breaking: ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and and aerial...

Posted by Sacred Stone Camp on Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sacred Stone Camp on Facebook: "ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and what looks like an aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer." Photos by Rob Wilson Photography [GoFundMe]

Kirchmeier, though, did not say what prompted his show of force. But independent journalist Mary Annette Pember reached out to his department and came back with another startling accusation -- there's been "reports" of gunshots being fired at #NoDAPL gatherings.

"We are currently investigating these reports," a spokesperson told Pember, who is on the ground in North Dakota, reporting for Indian Country Today.

Kirchmeier has previously come under fire for spreading his own rumors. As thousands began to flock to North Dakota in early August, he claimed there were pipe bombs at the encampment but resisters told The New York Times that he was mistaken by the presence of sacred Chanunpa pipes used during ceremonies.

"That's not true," Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe said last month in response to the allegation. "I've been at the camp nearly every single day."

Throughout the last two months, Kirchmeier has repeatedly used his department's Facebook page to accuse #NoDAPL resisters of crimes before any charges have been brought in the justice system. At the same time, he depicted private security guards working for Dakota Access Pipeline as victims even after a widely-seen confrontation showed them unleashing dogs and using mace against women and children.

But he has since promised an unbiased investigation into that September 3 incident and even claimed the Bureau of Indian Affairs was going to participate. The Interior Department, however, has has refused to confirm its role.


Democracy Now! on YouTube: Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Native American Protesters with Dogs & Pepper Spray

According to Kirchmeier, a total of 95 people, including journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, have been arrested for unlawful activities. That's a small percentage of the thousands of people -- the population has swelled between 2,000 to 7,000 at various times -- who have gathered at the camps near the home of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

"I want to acknowledge the unprecedented solidarity that so many of you across Indian Country have shown to the Standing Rock Sioux over the past weeks, through prayerful and peaceful assembly, to make your voices heard," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on Monday at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

A federal appeals court has put a temporary halt to construction on the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline in key areas of North Dakota but #NoDAPL resisters believe work has been occurring. The gatherings in recent days were organized as prayer vigils aimed at counteracting any construction activities.

"Despite the accusations by the police that there 'were shots fired' at todays ceremonies and actions, we stand united that this was a peaceful act of prayer for our Water and our Lands," the Red Warrior Camp wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. The camp's video from that gathering depicts another strong show of force by Morton County.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on October 5 to determine whether a more permanent injunction, if at all, is warranted.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals #NoDAPL Documents:
Injunction Blocking Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (September 16, 2016)
Order Setting October 5 Hearing (September 21, 2016)
Order Allocating Oral Argument Time (September 21, 2016)

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