Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody

Bismarck-Mandan, ND – On Thursday morning, a convoy of water protectors drove from the main Oceti Sakowin encampment to hold demonstrations in the nearby Bismarck-Mandan area.

The caravan first arrived in Mandan, to demonstrate outside a Wells Fargo bank branch demanding Wells Fargo withdraw its financial support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Before the water protectors arrived, there were already dozens of law enforcement officers in riot gear guarding the Wells Fargo. Agencies present included Bismarck Police, Mandan Police, Fargo Police, Morton County Sheriff and Cass County Sheriff. Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney appeared to be in command of the multi-jurisdictional force throughout the day’s events.

As soon as the march of water protectors approached Wells Fargo from the sidewalk, police quickly grabbed and arrested one man who was heading up the front of the march.

A few minutes after the first arrest, deputies from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department grabbed another man down the street and immediately began dragging him across the ground, slamming him to the pavement, and striking him with their fists and feet.

Witnesses told Unicorn Riot that the man was placed under arrest after attempting to hand Sheriff’s deputies a flower that he had picked.

Cass County Sheriff’s deputies continued to brutalize the man, punching, kicking and kneeing him, after moving him near a squad car across the street. The man was heard screaming that his shoulder had been dislocated, and also yelled that he was a military veteran who was having a panic attack.

Cass County Sheriff’s deputies who were restraining and beating the man were repeatedly heard saying “stop resisting” and “stop reaching for my gun.” Sheriff’s deputies and police officers worked to obstruct the view of the beating by creating a visual barrier with their bodies, as well as threatening all eyewitnesses present at the scene with arrest.

A bleeding wound on his head was visible as well as blood splattered on the ground. At some point during the incident, a transparent hood was placed over the man’s head.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney was present for this entire incident. When asked if the hood placed on the man’s head was a form of “hooding“, considered to be a form of torture under international law, Sheriff Laney stated that the bag on the man’s head was a “valid spit hood.

After demonstrating outside the Wells Fargo location, the crowd of water protectors marched a few blocks to rally outside a Federal courthouse, demanding that President Obama take immediate action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from being completed.

The crowd then returned to their vehicles, caravaned across the river to Mandan, and proceeded to march, circling the Morton County Correctional Center, where the Morton County Sheriff is headquartered.

The crowd chanted to demand the release of Red Fawn Fallis, a water protector who is facing charges of attempted murder after authorities claimed she fired shots at law enforcement while she was being arrested during the October 27 raid on the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty land encampment.

Many water protectors have stated that they believe the charges are fabrications intended to frame Red Fawn Fallis and that North Dakota authorities are targeting her because they believe she is a leader. Many inconsistencies have been pointed out in the Morton County Sheriff’s narrative regarding the allegations against Red Fawn Fallis – such as Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier announcing that no shots were fired on the day of the raid, then later claiming that Fallis fired three shots at officers.

All our livestreamed video from Thursday’s #NoDAPL events in Bismarck-Mandan can be seen below:

Later on Thursday, Norwegian bank DNB announced that it was selling its assets in Energy Transfer Partners. The decision was reportedly made in response to petitions with over 120,000 signatures delivered by Greenpeace and other groups. Greenpeace responded to DNB’s decision in a press release:

November 17, 2016

Largest bank in Norway sells its assets in Dakota Access pipeline

Washington, DC – The largest bank in Norway, DNB, has announced that it has sold its assets in the Dakota Access pipeline.

The news follows the delivery of 120,000 signatures from Greenpeace Norway and others to DNB urging the bank and other financial institutions to pull finances for the project. DNB recently indicated that it is reconsidering the loan it provided, which amounts to 10 percent of the total funding.

In response to the news, Greenpeace Norway Sustainable Finance Campaigner Martin Norman said:

It is great that DNB has sold its assets in the disputed pipeline, and it is a clear signal that it is important that people speak out when injustice is committed. We now expect DNB to also terminate its loans for the project immediately.

There should be a clause in the lending agreement that deals with human rights violations, and DNB should use it to get its money back and end all involvement in the Dakota Access pipeline. If they don’t have such a clause they must accept they have a bad contract and take the loss.”

Greenpeace USA spokesperson Lilian Molina said:

The writing’s on the wall for the Dakota Access pipeline. People power is winning. The news that DNB has sold its assets and is considering terminating its loans is a victory for the water protectors who are fighting to stop this disaster of a project. All financial institutions with a stake in the pipeline must quickly realize that financing this project is toxic. It would be smart for them to get out ahead of the growing movement of customers looking to divest from banks that finance the destruction of our planet and ignore Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Citigroup, TD Securities, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and the other banks backing this project should see this as a sign to get on the right side of history.

Unicorn Riot will continue to provide direct updates about resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Follow our media on Twitter, Facebook, and our website for more information surrounding the ongoing struggles against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle #NoDAPL from early summer 2016 to present:

March – May 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

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