Cheyenne Tribal chair accuses Morton County Sheriff of misleading public over weekend assault on #NoDAPL supporters

Chairman of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe accuses Morton County Sheriff of releasing misinformation about assault on NoDAPL supporters.

APTN National News
The chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is accusing the Morton County Sheriff of issuing false statements about what happened during a police assault of #NoDAPL supporters on the weekend.

“A majority of the statements made by the individuals are simply not true. You cannot imagine the disappointment I have for sworn law enforcement officials who demonstrate qualities that undermine the trust we place in those selected to protect the innocent,” said Harold Frazier.

On Sunday night, local and state police used a jerry-rigged fire hose as a water cannon, pepper spray and rubber bullets on about 400 people who were marching on the Backwater bridge just outside their camp which is the hub of the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline.

Hundreds were injured – and a few dozen hospitalized during the assault that went from Sunday night into the early morning hours Monday, including one woman who is in jeopardy of losing her arm after a police concussion grenade detonated after it hit her, according to the water protectors.

At a news conference, Morton County Sheriff’s department said that type of weapon was not used during the assault – but that her injuries were likely caused by propane canisters that were carried by the “agitators.”

A charred propane canister police say was obtained at the Backwater bridge barricade. Photo: Morton County Sheriff's Department.
A charred propane canister police say was obtained at the Backwater bridge barricade. Photo: Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

“I was present during the attack on peaceful protectors …. not once did I see any kind of ‘jerry’ rigged explosive devices or attempts to cross the police defensive line. The only explosions I witnessed was the explosions from the indiscriminate discharge of concussion, chemical and ‘less-lethal’ weapons on peaceful people,” said Frazier. “I did see brave people attempting to address the officers and asking them not to shoot at them any longer. Their answer was to get doused with water in below freezing temperatures and shot by officers wielding weapons.”

Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler, whose officers are involved in law enforcement activity against the water protectors, told local reporters Monday the use of water—despite the sub-zero temperatures that have settled in the region for the season—is now one of several weapons police will employ going forward.

“It was effective, wasn’t it?” said Ziegler, with a slight smirk, according to a video of the press briefing posted on the Morton County Sheriff department’s Facebook page. “We can use whatever force is necessary to maintain peace. When they are throwing rocks, burning logs, shooting sling shots with projectiles at our officers, that would fall under what we would call less lethal, same things as rubber bullets, which doesn’t hurt as much.”

Frazier said Ziegler, and Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, the two men in charge of police operations, need to be at the site more often.

“I was there that night and I encourage the Sheriff of Morton County to be present at these conflicts before he tells people what he heard from someone else. All of these allegations were said without offering any evidence in support,” he said.

Frazier also sent a letter Tuesday to Lawrence Roberts, principle deputy secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, demanding the agency expel all non-treaty law enforcement from the area which is the Great Sioux Nation’s treaty territory under the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty.

“The risk to the safety of our people protecting resources rightfully belonging to the Great Sioux Nation is too great to ignore any longer,” said Frazier.

For Costa, the events are now seared into his memory.

“I have seen strong men weep, terrified, all are asking the question: how can this happen?” he said. “Not only are we seeing things with emotional stress and emotional trauma, we are seeing people struggling with, what I would call, an existential question. I am struggling with that.”

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Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

4 thoughts on “Cheyenne Tribal chair accuses Morton County Sheriff of misleading public over weekend assault on #NoDAPL supporters

  1. This entire power-play is destroying the credibility of the Morton County Sheriff’s office, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the American people as a whole. Perhaps the most disheartening aspect has been the flagrant hypocrisy of the mainstream media. Apparently the Ben Bradley / Walter Cronkite / Ernie Pyle style of telling the truth has died out, and the only crap broadcast are the attention getting fallacies hand delivered by those who benefit from these falsehoods. I have been an American for well over 50 years and I am absolutely ashamed of my citizenship thanks to these types of incidents being ignored,..

  2. This entire power-play is destroying the credibility of the Morton County Sheriff’s office, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the American people as a whole. Perhaps the most disheartening aspect has been the flagrant hypocrisy of the mainstream media. Apparently the Ben Bradley / Walter Cronkite / Ernie Pyle style of telling the truth has died out, and the only crap broadcast are the attention getting fallacies hand delivered by those who benefit from these falsehoods. I have been an American for well over 50 years and I am absolutely ashamed of my citizenship thanks to these types of incidents being ignored,..

  3. Police lie. Imagine that. They do it all the time. It’s shameful and disgusting but it happens every single day to lots of people.

  4. Police lie. Imagine that. They do it all the time. It’s shameful and disgusting but it happens every single day to lots of people.

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