Date: December 9, 2016

Agency: Morton County Sheriff's Department

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

MANDAN, ND—Morton County officers arrested three male protesters who breached the barricade at the Backwater Bridge Thursday afternoon. The protesters came onto the bridge and after surveying the security on the barricade, crossed over to the north side. Law enforcement arrived at the scene and promptly arrested the protesters for Criminal Trespass. It appears that this event was deliberately staged by the protesters as a fourth person who did not cross the barrier was videotaping the entire incident. They were transported to the Morton County Correctional Center in Mandan.

The recent arrests come in light of the agreement between law enforcement officials and protester camp leadership that officers would pull back to a significant distance in an attempt to deescalate confrontations and allow the protesters to peacefully assemble on the south side of the bridge. “This is concerning in that there appears to be a lack of leadership oversight at the camps,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “We had an agreement that we trusted would be abided by those in the camp and it clearly was not.”

Today’s arrest brings the total to 569 protesters arrested. Note: The video attached contains no audio.