Standing Rock Sioux tribe challenges Corps findings on Dakota Access pipeline

A Standing Rock Sioux flag flies over a protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, where members of the Standing Rock nations and their supporters gathered to voice their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which is leading a four-tribe lawsuit against the four-state pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, in court documents filed Thursday asked a federal judge to reject the findings.

“The corps has conducted a sham process to arrive at a sham conclusion, for the second time,” tribal Chairman Mike Faith said in a statement.

The pipeline has the capacity to move half of the oil produced daily in North Dakota, the nation’s second-leading producer behind Texas. It passes just north of the Standing Rock Reservation, beneath a Missouri River reservoir that is the tribe’s water source.

The pipeline has been moving North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois since June 2017. That same month, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Corps largely complied with environmental law when permitting the pipeline but needed to do more study of its impact to tribal rights. The Corps filed its work with the court in late August.

Standing Rock’s challenge says the Corps “failed to grapple with extensive technical input provided by the tribe and others undermining its conclusions.” The major example the tribe offered is information it says shows the Corps has underestimated the risk and impact of an oil spill.

The tribe continues to maintain that the only lawful way to resolve the matter would be through a full environmental study that includes consideration of route alternatives.

The Corps had planned to do a more extensive environmental study before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and pushed through completion of the stalled project. The agency said in court documents in August that the additional study concluded a more thorough review is unwarranted. The tribe asks Boasberg to reject that conclusion.

By Associated Press

[SOURCE]

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Oil Pipeline Opponent Uses ‘Necessity Defense’ — What Is It?

Sioux Tribal member and Standing Rock activist Chase Iron Eyes speaks to a packed crowd in the Lawrence A. Bertolini Center at Santa Rosa Junior College April 3. – James Wyatt

An American Indian activist and former U.S. congressional candidate in North Dakota accused of inciting a riot during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline says he’ll seek to present a “necessity defense” — justifying a crime by arguing it prevented a greater harm.

Chase Iron Eyes has pleaded not guilty to inciting a riot and criminal trespassing. He could face more than five years in prison if convicted at trial in February. The pipeline has since begun carrying oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.

Pipeline protesters who try the necessity defense typically argue that the greater harm is climate change. Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, says he hopes to show that civil disobedience was his only option to resist a pipeline’s incursion on his ancestral lands. The prosecutor in the case didn’t respond to a request for comment. A judge will hear arguments Nov. 3.

WHAT IS THE NECESSITY DEFENSE?

People who use it are trying to show the harm they caused is justified because a greater harm was avoided as a result.

It dates to the late 1800s in England, when two sailors were charged with murder after they stayed alive by killing and eating a third sailor marooned with them in a lifeboat.

IS IT RECOGNIZED BY THE COURTS?

The U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s an “open question” whether federal courts have the authority to recognize a necessity defense not provided by law, according to North Dakota District Court Judge Laurie Fontaine.

Whether the defense is permitted by law in state courts varies, according to University of Mississippi law professor Michael Hoffheimer.

The main argument against the defense is that it gives people who don’t like a particular law the chance to break it and then argue it was excusable.

The main argument in its favor is that there might be special circumstances in which there is a justifiable reason for breaking a law.

HOW IS IT USED NOW?

It is used most frequently in criminal cases — such as drunk driving and marijuana use — in which people argue that what they did was necessary to prevent some greater harm.

In one such case, the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 ruled against a woman who challenged the revocation of her driver’s license after she drove while intoxicated to escape her abusive husband.

Defense attorneys also have tried the necessity defense when people illegally use marijuana, arguing that it was needed to treat a health problem. A 1976 District of Columbia court decision in favor of a person suffering from glaucoma was the first in the country to recognize the defense in a marijuana case, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The defense also has been used through the years by abortion clinic protesters. In a high-profile case in 2009, a judge ruled against its use in the trial of Scott Roeder, who confessed to killing an abortion-providing doctor in Kansas but argued it was necessary to save unborn children.

It was first attempted in a U.S. environmental case in 2009 when a climate change activist cited necessity in Utah. Alice Cherry, co-founder of the Climate Defense Project, said it has been used in similar cases in Washington state, New York, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. The Climate Defense Project even offers an educational guide on using the defense and says this area of the law is “developing rapidly.”

With pipeline protests, demonstrators often point to climate change and environmental damage as the greater harms. Oil pipelines carry fossil fuels, including oil, which release gases that trap heat and contribute to climate change, they argue.

Iron Eyes’ arguments are more complex. He cites an “imminent threat” to his tribe’s water supply because the Dakota Access pipeline goes beneath the Lake Oahe reservoir on the Missouri River, from which the tribe draws its drinking water. He also contends there was an effort by industry, private security and public law enforcement to conduct “an anti-terrorist campaign against Native Americans.”

WHAT MUST BE PROVEN?

Legal experts agree the necessity defense is a long shot.

To succeed, the defendant generally has to persuade the judge or jury that they had no legal alternative to breaking the law. They also must prove they were trying to prevent some imminent harm, and there must be a direct connection between their breaking the law and preventing the harm. Finally, they must prove that breaking the law is less harmful than what would have happened.

HAS IT SUCCEEDED IN ENVIRONMENTAL CASES?

Not often.

In a Minnesota case, Judge Robert Tiffany is allowing four pipeline protesters to use the defense, but he also said they must clear a high legal bar. Tiffany said the defense applies “only in emergency situations where the peril is instant, overwhelming, and leaves no alternative but the conduct in question.” That case is still pending.

A judge in Spokane, Washington, is allowing a 77-year-old Lutheran pastor to use a necessity defense in his upcoming trial stemming from a climate change protest last year. The Rev. George Taylor stood on railroad tracks to protest coal and oil trains that pass through Spokane and their contribution to climate change.

Judges in recent pipeline protest trials in North Dakota, Montana and Washington state have rejected the defense. The Montana judge said he didn’t want to put U.S. energy policy on trial, and the North Dakota judge said a reasonable person couldn’t conclude a direct cause and effect between the defendant’s pipeline protest and climate change.

The Montana case is pending. In the Washington and North Dakota cases, the protesters on trial were allowed to tell jurors of their “state of mind” during the offense, but in both cases were still convicted. In the Washington case, the protester received probation and said he was “heartened, knowing that we are bringing these arguments into the jury system.”

Associated Press

[SOURCE]

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U.N. Investigator: Native American Rights Violated by DAPL Law Enforcement

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz visited Dakota Access protest camps in Morton County.

Tauli-Corpuz is the U.N.’s special investigator on the rights of indigenous peoples.

She says authorities used unnecessary force and that the reports of the cleanup in the county have been blown out of proportion.

She also says the Standing Rock Sioux tribe was not consulted on major issues.

Gov. Burgum says the state is focused on maintaining peace, protecting the environment and restoring a good relationship with the tribe.

Tauli-Corpuz’s report will be given in September to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

[SOURCE]

U.S. Army Corps To Grant Final Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline: Court Filing

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Reuters | Feb 7, 2017 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final easement needed to finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a court filing Tuesday.

The line had been delayed for several months after protests from Native American tribes and climate activists. The $3.8 billion line, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N), needed a final permit to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is part of the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is adjacent to the line’s route, has said it will fight the decision. The Army Corps had previously stated that it would undertake further environmental review of the project. The tribe was not immediately available for comment.

The 1,170-mile (1,885 km) line will bring crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region to Patoka, Illinois, and from there connect to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located.

The tribe had fought the line for months, fearing contamination of their drinking water and damage to sacred sites on their land. This one-mile stretch under the river was the last uncompleted section of the line; the pipeline is expected to be operational late in the second quarter.

“The discord we have seen regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline doesn’t serve the tribe, the company, the Corps or any of the other stakeholders involved. Now, we all need to work together to ensure people and communities rebuild trust and peacefully resolve their differences,” said John Hoeven, Republican senator from North Dakota, in a statement.

Numerous activists who have been protesting in North Dakota have vowed to stay, although the primary protest camp is located on a flood plain on Army Corps land and is in the process of being cleared.

Their protests, along with those of climate activists, resulted in the Obama administration’s decision to delay a final permit that would allow construction under the Missouri River. It also ordered an environmental assessment, but that will not be conducted following Tuesday’s decision.

A memo dated Tuesday from Douglas Lamont, a senior official with the Army’s Civil Works department, said that he believes there is “no cause for completing any additional environmental analysis,” in part because of previous assessments by the Corps in 2016.

The Army informed the chairs and ranking members of the House Natural Resources and Senate Energy & Natural Resources committees of their intent in a letter on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump, days after being sworn in, issued an executive order directing the U.S. Army Corps to smooth the path to finishing the line. Tuesday’s filing was made in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

Shares of Energy Transfer Partners were down before the news. The stock finished up 20 cents to $39.60 a share.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; editing by Diane Craft and Cynthia Osterman)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-dakota-pipeline-idUSKBN15M2DU

BIA Agent caught on Video Hitting Female Water Protector with Baton during Arrest in Standing Rock

BIA agent Attacks female Water Protector with Baton during Arrest in Standing Rock

BIA agent Attacks female Water Protector with Baton during Arrest in Standing Rock

BIA agent caught hitting unarmed female with baton and arresting her as Tribe says ‘No Forcible Removal’ 

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 06 2017 • Updated

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe officials said this weekend they were working with federal authorities to close the Dakota Access Pipeline camps for safety reasons.

On Friday, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) said the agency had sent “enforcement support and would assist the tribe” in closing the protest camps within its reservation boundaries.

RELATED: 

But Tribal officials responded over the weekend that while they wanted people to close the camps and leave the reservation, they did not want them arrested or ousted by force.

“We want to stress that we are cleaning the camps, not clearing them,” the tribe posted on Facebook on Saturday. “We do not support or endorse any ‘raids.’ We have not asked for law enforcement to assist in clearing camps and in fact have repeatedly told them there will be no forcible removal.”

On Saturday evening, a video emerged out of Standing Rock which showed a female water protector beaten by a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officer with his baton during an arrest. The unarmed woman is seen walking away from a BIA agent when he starts to hit her with the weapon. The woman can be heard yelling at the officer during the attack “Stop brutalizing me”

Will Barton uploaded the video to his Facebook page shortly after the incident occurred on February 4. 2017.

The altercation took place along the road going into Sacred Stone Camp.

Three people were said to be arrested.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe put out a Press Release yesterday, including more information about the incident. 

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe denounces any violence and it is very important to maintain peace on all sides. Although we don’t know all the facts, the Bureau is conducting an investigation.”

“From information provided thus far, we understand that a tribal citizen of the Cannonball community called the police due to individuals blocking road access to the caller’s home. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, officers were subsequently pepper sprayed by the individuals at the roadblock. This led to an altercation and arrests at the scene. The safety of Tribal citizens remains our top priority and we denounce all forms of violence.”

After months of protests, both tribal officials and residents in the town of Cannon Ball, have asked those opposed to completion of the controversial, 1,170-mile pipeline to leave.

The Standing Rock Tribe has asked camps to disband by Feb. 22, before the spring flooding season.

Indigenous Youth from Northern Sask. Walking to Standing Rock

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie walking south of Regina on Highway 6, is one of eight Stanley Mission residents walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in support of the protests towards the Dakota Access Pipeline. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie walking south of Regina on Highway 6, is one of eight Stanley Mission residents walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in support of the protests towards the Dakota Access Pipeline. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Group from Stanley Mission passed through Regina Tuesday morning

By Brad Bellegarde, CBC News Posted: Dec 28, 2016

A group of eight young Indigenous men and women from Stanley Mission, Sask. passed through Regina on Tuesday as part of a 1400-kilometre journey on foot.

Their destination is the heart of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest located at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

The group has already walked more than 700 kilometres.

The organizer of the walk, Ricky Sanderson, said that the Husky Energy spill that happened earlier this year in central Saskatchewan was what sparked the idea for the trek.

“I was worried about my grandparents’ community,” said Sanderson. “They’re from James Smith (Cree Nation) and that pipeline leak was not far from their house.”

An oil leak from a Husky Energy pipeline in July, 2016, affected the water supply for the cities of Prince Albert and North Battleford.

The James Smith Cree Nation, located approximately 75 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, was also affected by the spill.

Eight Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to create awareness about pipeline risks to the environment. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Eight Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to create awareness about pipeline risks to the environment. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Sanderson said he is walking to create awareness for the potential damage pipelines could cause to the environment and to create awareness for future generations.

“If these pipelines go through our sacred burial grounds, our sacred lands, it will really affect the animals and the water we drink.”

‘We need to be there for Standing Rock’ – Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie is one of the walkers and she believes that it’s important for people to understand the potential disasters pipelines could cause.

She said the Standing Rock protests inspired her to take part in the journey from Stanley Mission.

The Standing Rock protests were a response to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The 1,900-kilometre, four-state pipeline was to be built near Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation and intended to run underneath a Missouri river reservoir.

Construction was halted in November by the United States government, however Roberts-McKenzie believes that it is only a temporary stop and now is the time to stand beside Standing Rock residents.

“We need to be there for Standing Rock,” she said. “We just want to support them to keep going and to stay strong.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/indigenous-youth-from-northern-sask-walking-to-standing-rock-1.3913569

Standing Rock and the Battle Beyond

An insight into the battle for Native American land rights as protests continue against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Staff |  Dec 27, 2016

For months, Native Americans have been protesting against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a multibillion-dollar construction project that tribal leaders say is threatening sacred sites, as well as the tribe’s source of drinking water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the federal government failed to properly consult with them before issuing permits for the pipeline.

All the women and children were along the line crying, they had just gone through pepper spraying everybody… people then started pushing as the [attack] dogs were coming. – Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, founder, Sacred Stone Camp

Protests against the project have been growing since April and began when a handful of people set up camp, just south of the proposed pipeline on the land of Ladonna Brave Bull Allard.

When the Army Corps approved the first major permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Allard received a 48-hour heads up, warning her of work commencing on the pipeline. It was then that the Sioux took the Army Corps to federal court – Allard called in for reinforcements using a social media video, calling people to stand with the cause.

Since then, thousands of people, including tribes across the US, have joined historic demonstrations in support of the Sioux.

In December, the Obama administration handed them a victory, denying a final permit the company needed and saying different routes for the pipeline would be sought.

But the election of Donald Trump has cast doubt on that decision, and the company in charge of constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline says it isn’t backing down.

Fault Lines examines the case against the pipeline, connecting it to other fights being waged by US tribes that have helped build the growing movement at Standing Rock.

Editor’s note: We have used archive footage in this Fault Lines episode from Democracy Now! and Unicorn Riot.

Source: Al Jazeera

Red Warrior Camp Communique Announces Withdrawal from Oceti Sakowin

Official Red Warrior Camp Communique

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Red Warrior Society

Red Warrior Camp has left the Lands and Waters of Oceti Sakowin.

Grassroots leaders LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard, and Chase Iron Eyes from Standing Rock have also spoken and have made it abundantly clear that they want those equipped for the harsh North Dakota winter to stay and help stop DAPL, due to our current circumstance it is with great regret that we as Red Warrior cannot accept this heartfelt invitation. That is not to say we do not support this effort in fact is quite the opposite, we send our Warrior Salute and War Cry to the universe and the ancestors that their needs are met and they receive the love and support they need in the fight for clean water.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault has made it abundantly clear that a diversity of tactics in the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is not respected nor wanted. We have this to say: without the courage and the actions of those who actually put their minds, bodies, and spirits in harms way the pipeline would be built. Without the Warriors who locked down and took measures to put a stop to the work on DAPL, the black blood would already be flowing under the Missouri river. The encampment itself would not even be here right now. The hard work of the Warriors has cost ETP millions, we have struck the Black Snake a deadly blow.

The peace policing that was led by people who were for the most part self appointed used ceremony and spirituality as a weapon against us, they too have made it abundantly clear by their actions and their constant slinging of arrows that they are not ready to embrace a world view that upholds decolonization and revolution.

After months of active duty as Warriors fighting for Sacred Water and protecting Sacred Ground, and due to the current political climate here at Standing Rock, Red Warrior Camp is evolving. We are taking time to recoup, and expand on who we are as a Society. We have worked very hard here for many months and must be mindful of ourselves and our families and also to self care. We must also be true to who we are and as Indigenous Land Defenders, we are committed fully to our roles as Warriors and have worked too hard to allow any kind of outside threat to compromise our duties and movement.

Red Warrior Society is now dedicating ourselves to building a culture and community of Resistance on every level. We were called here by the People to help fight a battle that is far from our home territories for many of us, we have sacrificed much in the efforts for Mni Wiconi. Facing felony charges, lasting bodily harm and the long lasting effects of battle fatigue we have laid it all on the line for the water. Our time here has come to an end, we have done all we can in this fight and we are honored to have stood beside not only the Tribe but to each and every one of you from all nations all over the planet who came here with the fire of resistance in your bellies and fought hard and long beside us.

We offer up our sincerest thanks to all who have bettered us as a Camp, we are grateful to those who have made our lives here easier and who have sheltered us and fed us. To all those who came forward and offered their help in the form of finances and the sweat from their bodies. We salute you, your help, love, and offerings have given us the heart to be here for so many months, and it has held us up when we were weary from battle and felt discouraged. Without this we would not be in a place to carry on our battle to other frontlines and we would not be as strong as we are. There are no words in this colonized language to express the deep feelings we carry with us, for this movement that has arisen from this historic time, water is life.

One of the lessons we have learned that has inspired us is the very real need for a mobile resistance movement that is ready and willing to dismantle the capitalist regime that is destroying our planet. The mobilization of resistance is key to shattering the oppressive illegal military occupation of the so called ‘Amerikkkas’, for too long we have lived with broken treaties, genocide, racism and colonization. In order to best honor our ancestors and the future generations we are living our principles by forming a Warrior Society rooted in combatting the indoctrination of our minds, bodies, and spirits. We do not need Standing Rock to exist, but we did however require it to put us all in the same place at the same time. We realize now that all we need is each other, our Red Warrior family has undertaken the responsibility and role to uphold not only Mother Earth but Indigenous Rights. It is with this duty in mind we must rise up and move on.

We are unapologetically Indigenous, we embody resistance, everything we do from eating rubber bullets for breakfast to holding our frontline has been done in a manner that is nothing but spiritual. We have great respect and love for prayer and ceremony and understand its place in a time of battle, many of our People are spiritual leaders in their own right and in their own territories. We are the answered prayers of our Ancestors embodied in the flesh, we are given a sacred duty to ensure the continuity of our Peoples way of life on this planet, and to protect the future for those spirits yet to come. This is a call to action to which no man or women can or should deny in these precarious times.

The time has come for us as Red Warrior take a leap of faith in our Ancestors and carve a space for ourselves to exist as free from colonialism as we can. We recognize and acknowledge our role, we have been brought together by the struggle for clean water here at Oceti Sakowin and we are moving on as a group.

Our time together here has been a journey and a teaching experience for us all, it has honed our vision and our mission as a whole and we are looking seven generations forward. Focused on action to defend our Mother we are moving forward to ensure we are where we are needed and can be effective. Our people and our battles are all over Turtle Island, we have worked hard together to create a Warrior Society that is upholding not only Mother Earth but also each other. We are Mother Earths Army.

We cannot stay and fight a battle for land and water that is heavily invested in neo-colonialism. We are so grateful to the grassroots people who have supported us while we have been here. It is not easy to say goodbye, we are deeply tied to this struggle and are not abandoning our post. This fight is not over yet, the pipeline is still being built, Energy Transfer Partners will push this pipe through unless there is a diversity of tactics that include direct action and no court ruling or legal manoeuvring will prevent that from happening alone; and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is heavily engaged in praying away a pipeline without action, this is in direct opposition to who we are as Warriors.

We are in a war to fight the greedy corporate whores who are pimping out our Mother for blood money and we say no more. Enough is enough, for over 500 years we have been brutalized and robbed, we are not victims looking for surcease we are Warriors fighting for our lives and the future. We cannot afford to allow our own corrupt leaders aid and abet this process, too many of our people are working for industry, too many of our people are selling out, we must remember the warrior blood that runs through our veins. We do a great disservice to ourselves and the People when we allow the values of white supremacist society to overshadow the knowledge of what it means to be a true human being.

Mother Earth is hurtin and she’s calling for backup.
Warriors rise up. FIGHT BACK!

In The Spirit Of Resistance,

Red Warrior Society

(Posted December 11, 2016)

Police Arrest Bismarck Man Caught on Video, Wearing Mask, Threatening Pipeline Protesters

Jesse McLain, 33, of Bismarck, was arrested on two counts of terrorizing.

Man in Skeleton mask charged with Terrorizing

Red Power Media | Dec 08, 2016

Bismarck Police have arrested one person involved in an altercation with several people outside the Ramada Inn on December 5th.

On Wednesday, a 33-year-old man was arrested and charged with 2 counts of terrorizing after video caught two masked men threatening Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and a bystander.

According to the Bismarck Tribune, Jesse McLain, of Bismarck, was allegedly one of two masked men in a video yelling expletives and threats, including “take your protestin’ … back home” and “us North Dakota people are going to … you up,” into a vehicle at the hotel on Monday afternoon, according to a Bismarck Police affidavit filed in the case.

Based on descriptions given in the affidavit, McLain is the man wearing a skeleton mask on his face.

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Man in Skeleton mask charged with terrorizing

In the video, there are two men being threatened in the car. They say they are unable to leave the scene, because they are blocked in by the masked men’s vehicles.

McLain is charged with terrorizing the bystander who also caught the incident on video. McLain allegedly approached the bystander in a menacing way, tried to grab his phone and threw ice and snow in his direction.

Police identified McLain after connecting the license plate on his grey van to a local service company in town, where he is an employee and driver of the van, according to the affidavit.

McLain was released from jail on Thursday afternoon on $2,000 bond set by South Central District Judge Gail Hagerty, according to the Burleigh County jail.

He faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each charge.

No charges have yet been filed against the second masked man seen in the video.

viral video of the altercation viewed more than 1.3 million times was posted on Facebook by Dean Dedman Jr., also known as Shiye Bidziil, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in South Dakota. Dedman confirmed to the Grand Forks Herald the video was shot by him.

Veterans for Standing Rock Head Evacuation Mission

A camper braces against high winds and a blizzard while walking inside the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball,

A camper braces against high winds and a blizzard while walking inside the Oceti Sakowin camp as “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball,

By Esha Sarai | VOA News, Dec 06, 2016 

Hundreds of veterans who came to North Dakota to stand show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe were heading an evacuation mission Tuesday to help those stuck in a blizzard that immobilized most of the state.

Hundreds of cars poured into the Oceti Sakowin camp Sunday and Monday following the decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to deny an easement needed to route the Dakota Access Pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. That section is the last major part of the pipeline that hasn’t been finished.

The Oceti Sakowin camp is seen as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 6, 2016.

The Oceti Sakowin camp is seen as “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 6, 2016.

Security officials at the camp, however, have not let anyone leave, citing safety concerns. Thousands of protesters have been stuck since the blizzard began Monday.

“It’s mostly involving helping people get back on the roads … people who have slipped off the road, and getting people to Prairie King,” Iraq War veteran Johnathan Engle told VOA, referring to the casino about 15 kilometers from the Oceti Sakowin camp. Thousands of “water protectors” have been staying at the camp while they protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they see as a threat to drinking water and cultural sites.

Veterans and "water protectors" from the Oceti Sakowin camp have been taking shelter in the nearby Prairie Knights Casino and Resort as a blizzard rages through North Dakota, Dec. 6, 2016. (Credit: D. Beckmann)

Veterans and “water protectors” from the Oceti Sakowin camp have been taking shelter in the nearby Prairie Knights Casino and Resort as a blizzard rages through North Dakota, Dec. 6, 2016. (Credit: D. Beckmann)

“[The casino] has a large open area” and has offered it as a place to stay, “so people are kind of spread out on the floor along the sides of the auditorium. They have their sleeping bags and other gear with them,” Johnathan said. The casino is the nearest establishment of any kind to the camp.

Though multiple news agencies have reported that Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II has asked the camp to disband, saying its mission is over, the message has not spread throughout the Oceti Sakowin camp, where many who are prepared with long-term tents and winter gear are planning to stay. Though the Army Corps announced its decision on the easement Sunday, many “water protectors” are wary that officials in the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump could reverse the decision after he is inaugurated in January.

“Between the tribal elders, communication is moving very slowly here,” Kevin Basl, another member of “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock,” told VOA. “Some people are very ready for this, and there are some people who were just coming for the weekend who weren’t so well-prepared. But the roads are closed, so no one will be leaving for now.”

Water protectors celebrate the decision of the Army Corps to deny the building of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline through their and sacred Sioux land (E. Sarai/VOA)

Water protectors celebrate the decision of the Army Corps to deny the building of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline through their and sacred Sioux land (E. Sarai/VOA)

The majority of interstate Highway 94, which runs across the state, has been closed, and the North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a “no travel” advisory for the majority of state highways, including all routes to and from the Standing Rock reservation.

Basl and Engle both came to the camp over the weekend, when activist and veteran Wesley Clark Jr. organized nearly 2,000 veterans to show their support for the water protectors at Standing Rock.

A woman makes coffee in a kitchen in the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 6, 2016.

A woman makes coffee in a kitchen in the Oceti Sakowin camp as “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 6, 2016.

“We’ve all signed up to sacrifice our lives to help people,” Clark told VOA near the Standing Rock camp on Sunday. “I know a lot of veterans take the oath very seriously, like I do. I put the call out to vets, and everybody answered. It’s awesome,” he said, visibly emotional over the sheer number of veterans present.

A GoFundMe page set up to support veterans coming to Standing Rock this weekend raised over $1 million.

Clark, who spoke alongside U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on Sunday, cited both environmental concerns as well as a continuous history of mistreatment of the Native American people.

“The United States has broken every single treaty it’s ever signed with native peoples. Every one. And native peoples have broken no treaties with the federal government,” he said. “So it’s time this country actually starts living up to its word.”

A young Native American man on horseback watches veterans unfurl a flag near the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 4, 2016.

A young Native American man on horseback watches veterans unfurl a flag near the Oceti Sakowin camp as “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 4, 2016.

Both Clark and Gabbard, who rose to popularity when she endorsed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for president last year, spoke to what they said was a misrepresentation of the issue. They said oil companies — who say they support the pipeline for efficiency, safety and economic reasons — are not actually taking people’s lives into consideration.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii speaks to reporters after addressing veterans near the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota (E. Sarai/VOA)

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii speaks to reporters after addressing veterans near the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota (E. Sarai/VOA)

“Some who are talking about this issue are trying to pit two sides of our community and our country against each other — those who are choosing to support so-called economic development and jobs pitted against those who are standing for protecting water,” Gabbard said. “It’s a false narrative; it’s a false question. Unless we protect our water, there is no economy. There are no jobs. There is no life.”

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