Date: October 15, 2016
Agency: Morton County Sheriff's Department
Contact: Morton County PIO (701) 426-1587
Mandan, N.D. - Fourteen protesters were arrested today at three protest sites south and east of St. Anthony. State Radio initially received a call at 7:30 a.m. that approximately 130 protesters were gathering near the Cannonball camps.
We received a report at 8:15 a.m. that a protester had attached himself to a Dakota Access Pipeline track hoe arm on one of their worksites, 8 miles southeast of St. Anthony. Protesters had erected a teepee on this site as well. The protester was attached to the upper arm of a track hoe, which is 25 feet above the ground. After law enforcement arrived, he self-released himself after being attached for 5 hours, however officers needed to attain additional equipment to safely lower him to the ground. He was arrested for reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and inciting a riot.
Construction workers for the Dakota Access Pipeline were evacuated from the immediate sites impacted by the protesters by 9:00 a.m.
At 9:00 a.m. ten protesters were arrested at the intersection of Highway 6 and County Road 135, which is approximately 4 miles south of St. Anthony. Officers had repeatedly ordered the protesters to clear the road. Failure to obey commands to disperse resulted in the arrests for disorderly conduct and disobedience of public safety order during riot conditions.
At 9:25 a group of 135 protesters gathered at Morton County Road 136A and 57th Street. After about one hour the group left the area. No arrests were made at this location.
At 10:40 officers responded to a report of three protesters trespassing on private ranch property. The protesters were located near the ranch and arrested for criminal trespass on private property at 10:50.
“On going protests continue to violate the rights of our citizens and raise public safety concerns,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “They want to conduct commerce and feel safe while travelling on our local roadways. Overall public safety is my number 1 priority.”
A community outreach text message was sent to St. Anthony residents and local farmers and ranchers not to use Highway 6 and to stay off obstructed roads due to the unusual amount of traffic. Highway 6 was closed temporarily to traffic from St. Anthony to County Road 135.
By 2:00 p.m. all Dakota Access Pipeline construction workers were back at work at the impacted sites.
There have been 140 arrests that have led to charges for illegal activity associated with DAPL protests and protesters.