Date: January 6, 2017

Agency: Morton County Sheriff's Department

Contact: Morton County PIO (701) 595-3596 or (701) 426-1587

Mandan, N.D. – At approximately 2:45am today, law enforcement responded to approximately 50 protestors at the Backwater Bridge who were removing the security wire from the barricade on the north end of the bridge. Protestors disregarded orders from law enforcement to leave the bridge. The officers eventually withdrew a short distance and observed the protestors continue to remove the security wire at the barricade and cross to the north side of the bridge.
Approximately 10 of the protesters were equipped with protective hand-held shields and law enforcement observed several protestors carrying knives, hatchets, and chains. The protestors remained standing in the area of the barricade, yelling at the officers. By 3:45am, all of the protestors had left the bridge. No arrests were made.

During this incident, the North Dakota Highway Patrol plane was targeted by laser and spotlight from the protest camp.

At approximately 3:15pm today, law enforcement arrested two individuals for criminal trespass at Turtle Hill. This brings the total number of arrests to 584 since August 10.

In the following video, protestors are shown cutting and removing the security wire at the barricade on the Backwater Bridge, taunting and yelling at law enforcement, and using a high beam flashlight to blind law enforcement.

“The actions by these individuals are not showing a peaceful and prayerful protest,” Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said. “However, law enforcement continues to show restraint in the midst of these unlawful acts.”