Published December 14, 2016
WASHINGTON – Apparently, President Barack Obama is saying “not on my watch” to sending federal officers to Standing Rock to assist local enforcement.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department will not send federal officers to assist North Dakota law enforcement at the Dakota Access pipeline construction near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
On Monday 12 heads of law enforcement agencies sent a letter to President Obama to request assistance. The group asked the president to send federal border patrol officers and members of the U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations.
Sending border patrol and members of the U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations Group might escalate, not ease, tensions between law enforcement and protesters who’ve camped on federal land for months, Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told The Associated Press.
The Justice Department noted it offered training and technical assistance to North Dakota law enforcement, which was rejected.
“As Attorney General Lynch has said, the department is committed to supporting local law enforcement, defending protestors’ constitutional right to free speech and fostering thoughtful dialogue on the matter,” Horbuckle said. “The safety of everyone in the area — law enforcement officers, residents and protesters alike — continues to be our foremost concern.”
Since August, 571 people have been arrested associated with demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline.
North Dakota law enforcement officers have used police brutality in an attempt to squelch the crowds gathered at Standing Rock. Last month, hundreds of water protectors were sprayed for over five hours with high-pressure hoses from water cannons in frigid weather. Law enforcement denied this police brutality occurred and changed their story after social media video was spread over the internet.