Date: February 1, 2017
Agency: North Dakota Joint Information Center
Contact: Joint Information Center (701) 328-7377
BISMARCK, N.D. – As the Governor, the Morton County Sheriff and the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have said, it is imperative the protest camps be vacated and the areas cleared for public safety and environmental protection before flooding begins in early spring. As recently as Sunday, ongoing dialogue between all parties including camp leaders from the various protester camps resulted in agreements to start cleaning up the camps, to have protesters leave the area and for steps by law enforcement to help de-escalate the situation and move the region back to normalcy.
“Public safety, including that of residents and protesters alike, is our number one priority,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.
Counter to these good faith efforts, a rogue group of some of the more aggressive elements of the protest camp have started to establish another illegal camp on private property in direct opposition to the wishes of the tribal council, district leaders and more peaceful elements of the protesters.
As with any acts of criminal trespass, the rogue group could face arrest if they refuse to leave the private property or if they act in any aggressive or violent way toward law enforcement or employees of the commercial company that owns the property.
“In spite of the actions of this rogue group, we will strive to continue efforts on both sides to move forward and find common ground as steps are taken to ensure public safety and begin healing the relationships that are so important to the region and our state,” said Gov. Doug Burgum.