August 11th of last year was the first day of arrests at protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Today, trials began for 9 of those who were arrested.
Nine defendants line the front bench of a Morton County Courtroom — all of whom were the first pipeline protesters arrested.
After the 2 hour long jury selection was made — the attorneys gave opening statements.
“What we’re going to be talking about here today is facts. And we’re going to be talking about not the emotions, not some of the things we were talking about in jury selection about people being upset about the protesters or upset about the pipeline or things like that,” said Alex Reichert, Attorney.
All of those in trial today were charged with disorderly conduct, and one with the added charge of fleeing.
One defendant, Kevin Decker, was a hot topic of discussion.
He was the first ever pipeline protester arrested.
“For me, Mr. Decker, he got arrested because he was warned and reminded several times verbally. And at the point of him putting his hands at me to actually try to physically push me. At that point, I had enough and placed him under arrest,” said Captain Jay Gruebele of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
The state’s attorney’s office brought 4 witnesses — all in law enforcement.
They were the ones who made the arrests that day.
At times, it got a little heated.
“I’m asking you, you’re the one who made the arrest here. You’re the one that’s saying that my client did something wrong. I’m just asking you. Were there construction workers there when she was arrested?” Reichert asked.
“According to your photograph, yes,” Gruebele answered.
This was only the first day of court.
It will continue for a second day — possibly ending in a verdict.
There were 2 others scheduled to appear in court today, but who couldn’t make it for personal reasons.
Their trial dates will be later.