DAPL protests: One year later


One year ago,North Dakota law enforcement was preparing to do what they had to in order to clear the roads of DAPL protesters. Today, Shelby Rose spoke with Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier about what it was like through

A clash between protesters and law enforcement resulted in more than 100 arrests on highway 1806 on October 27th, 2016. There was a large camp forming on the sides of the road and into private property, and Sheriff Kirchmeier explains what happened the day before. 

“[We] met with some of the leaders that were there. I talked to them, but then we were told that this is their line in the sand and they weren’t moving,” said Sheriff Kirchmeier. 

So, the next day, more than 60 law enforcement agencies across North Dakota and multiple other states came together. They had more than 350 officers on-hand to remove the protesters from the land. 

Sheriff Kirchmeier added, “We were very comfortable in the numbers that we had. And we were just hoping that the individuals down there would follow the direction of law enforcement.”

But they were met with resistance. Law enforcement was prepared for anything.

“I was hoping that you could do this without any arrests, but in reality, I knew that wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

It didn’t. Authorities arrested nearly 140 arrests that day. It lasted until 2 a.m. on the 28th. And it was at that point relations between law enforcement and protesters were almost non-existent. 

Sheriff Kirchmeier said, “Most communications broke down after that point and there wasn’t too much communication happening between law enforcement and protesters or camp leaders.”

The protests did eventually come to an end on February 23.  Overall, 761 arrests were made in 210 days costing nearly $40 million dollars. It’s something Sheriff Kirchmeier never expected.

He said, “If you would’ve told me back in August that this is what the whole result would have been, I would have highly doubted it.”

I looked back at the statistics from the end of the DAPL protests. 331,000 law enforcement man hours were used. and of the 761 arrests, 94% of them were people from out or state.

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