Target: Attorney General Loretta Lynch
Goal: Open an investigation into reports of law enforcement mistreating protesters and journalists involved in the Standing Rock protests.
The Dakota Access Pipeline protests escalated recently when law enforcement allegedly used pepper spray, military vehicles, rubber bullets and batons to subdue and arrest over 140 people. These arrests happened when over 100 law enforcement officers intercepted a peaceful march in support of activists who had chained themselves to bulldozers. Law enforcement claims that marchers tried to break a police line, but participants in the march claim that they were attempting to disperse but were moving slowly due to the presence of elderly people within the protest. Law enforcement shot down a drone used to film the march claiming it was endangering a police helicopter.
Those arrested are allegedly being held in cramped conditions and have been denied medication, food, and water for eight-hour stretches. Furthermore, while most people were charged with misdemeanors, there have been multiple reports of people being strip- searched and forced to spread body parts, and jump while coughing. Law enforcement arrested filmmakers and journalists covering the protests as well, and there have been multiple reports of law enforcement confiscating footage of the protests.
Given multiple reports of abuse, violations of constitutional rights, and repression Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, has called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate North Dakota law enforcement’s treatment of activists and the press. Sign our petition and stand with the Standing Rock Sioux in calling for a federal investigation into these reports of abuse.
Dear Attorney General Lynch,
I am writing to add my voice to Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault’s call for a federal investigation into the law enforcement response to the protests against Dakota Access Pipeline Construction. As you may know, there have been multiple allegations of excessive force, including the use of pepper spray and batons against peaceful protesters, and the denial of medications to those arrested. They are being held in crowded jails, reportedly without access to water and food for hours on end. Furthermore, there have been multiple reports of law enforcement ordering people arrested for misdemeanor crimes to undergo strip searches.
Additionally, multiple journalists have alleged that they were harassed or arrested while covering the protests. There have been further reports of law enforcement officials confiscating footage. Multiple journalists have been charged with felonies, though the cases that have gone to trial have been thrown out on the basis that the charges violate the First Amendment. I believe this shows a pattern of intimidation and suppression of constitutional rights. I urge you to open an investigation into these allegations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nati Harnik