Brandon Ecoffey: Authorities step over the line with #NoDAPL crackdown

Riot Police Spray Praying Water Protectors on the banks of the...

This morning on the banks of the Cannon Ball River Water Protectors gathered to pray and were met by OC Spray and less-than-lethal rounds by law enforcement officers. Photos to follow. You can support my continued coverage here! -->

Posted by Rob Wilson Photography on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A water protection ceremony along the Cannon Ball River in North Dakota was met by another law enforcement action on November 2, 2016. Video by Rob Wilson Photography [GoFundMe]

A note from the editor's desk
Abuse of Water Protectors by Morton County
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

Dave Chappelle noted once that the easiest way to dismiss the credibility of an argument is to call the person making it a "conspiracy theorist." These days in Indian Country notions that were once called this are becoming realities thanks to Morton County Law Enforcement.

I remember in 2004 when pictures of horrors of Abu Gharib surfaced. Most Americans bought into President Bush's claims that this was an isolated incident. This was completely untrue as it became known that the abuse of detainees through the use of attack dogs, water boarding, and suffocation techniques like placing hoods on prisoners were common place. The ones who warned that these same incidents could occur in the U.S. were labeled conspiracy theorists.

When Oscar Grant was shot and killed by Oakland Police in 2009 it was called an isolated incident. Now years later we understand that the killing of unarmed minorities by police happens more often than we ever realized. Minorities who claimed they were the targets of police were also labeled conspiracy theorists.

For so long we have been told by our government that the practices it has employed against "terrorists" in foreign countries would never find a place on American soil. We were told to never fear the our government's use of drones. We were told that mass surveillance would only be used in the most unique cases where there was a definitive and immediate threat to life. We were told torture like what has occurred all over the world could never be carried out against American citizens. We were told the attack dogs from Abu Gharib would never patrol our lands. These were all lies.

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Over the course of the last several months the abuse of detainees by Morton County Law Enforcement has overstepped every boundary guaranteed by the American constitution. Water protectors have been seen being bound and hooded by police. People are being stripped searched and abused within their jail for misdemeanor crimes. And police have employed the use of mass surveillance through drones on the protector camps. This isn't a war zone this is North Dakota.

What is taking place in North Dakota will be looked at in disgust by future generations who will soon realize that protecting drinking water is not a bad thing. They will also realize that sometimes conspiracy theories are more accurate than we ever realized.

(Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of LCT and is an award winning journalist who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He can be reached at

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