Morton County, ND – Documents acquired through a series of public records requests shine light on ongoing out-of-state law enforcement assistance to the Morton County Sheriff and the state of North Dakota in their militarized police operations to protect construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
As we have previously reported, the state of emergency declared by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple in August enabled Governors of other states, such as Wisconsin, to voluntarily activate their state’s emergency management agencies under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to recruit police and sheriffs in their state to be deployed against #NoDAPL water protectors in North Dakota.
Emails sent in early October show Nebraska state officials discussing sending officers and resources from the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) to Morton County under EMAC. On the morning of October 12, Brent Curtis, an administrative assistant at the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) wrote in an email to his colleagues,
“Please see the EMAC request from North Dakota below. They are requesting 40 LEOs to assist with a pipeline protest (“civil unrest”). I just received a call from their POC, Geneva, asking if Nebraska would be able to at least partially fill this request for 40 LEOs.“
Attached to Curtis’ October 12 email is a form entitled “Resource Request #1102-RR-5265” which was originally by Geneva Anderson, an administrator at North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services. The form requests “40 Sworn Law Enforcement Officers“. Much of the form is redacted, but some of it reads:
“Officers will be assisting in a situation involving civil unrest and criminal activities related to opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, primarily in southern Morton County in North Dakota. Officers will be assigned to perform one of the following duties within the Quick Response Force (QRF).[REDACTED]“
Towards the end of the form, the field “Safety Concerns/Remarks” is filled in with “Civil disobedience situation“.
Another email, sent on October 17 by NEMA administrative assistant Terri Kattes, hints at an informal discussion between the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) preceding NSP’s deployment to Morton County.
“Just received a call from Greg Wilz, North Dakota HLS Director. Would lIke to discuss the possibility of an EMAC request for some HP support to assist with protests. He understands there has been some discussions between the two HPs and there may be some interest but wants to discuss before formalizing any request.“
Greg Wilz, Homeland Security Division Director at the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, appears to be one of the main North Dakota officials responsible for coordinating bringing out-of-state law enforcement to Morton County under EMAC.
Several EMAC documents we have reviewed bear Wilz’s signature.
More emails sent later that week show conversations between Nebraska Emergency Management administrators and Director Wilz, as well as Sgt. Shannon Henke of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, about requesting an aircraft and a pilot from Nebraska State Patrol. (Sgt. Henke is also the author of an affidavit used as grounds for a felony warrant issued against drone pilot Aaron Turgeon, aka Prolific the Rapper, in retaliation for video journalists using drones to record DAPL private security activities.)
A document included in the EMAC emails we received formally requests that Nebraska provide North Dakota with
“Nebraska State Patrol’s fixed wing aircraft to assist with the DAPL incident occurring in North Dakota. Cessna fixed-wing 206..and any other equipment they feel is necessary to assist in both day and night flight operations. Aircraft would be on a weekly rotating basis with other aviation resources…“
Further emails between emergency management officials in North Dakota and Nebraska show an agreement for Nebraska to lend a Cessna T206 aircraft as well as a Bell 407 helicopter, in rotating one-week shifts.
Doucments found on Muckrock by Melissa Hill show an EMAC request from North Dakota for Nebraska State Patrol aircraft for a “total of 14 days“.
The “Aviation Support” page on the Nebraska State Patrol website boasts of the surveillance capabilities of their aircraft, and specifically mentions the models which have been deployed in North Dakota.
NSP’s website clearly outlines the surveillance capabilities of their Bell 407 helicopter and Cessna T206 airplane which have been deployed to North Dakota:
“The Bell 407 helicopter is a turbine powered, seven place helicopter with excellent performance and lift capabilities. The Bell 407 you see below is outfitted with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and a 30,000,000 candle power spotlight. The helicopter and the pilots operating it are also Night Vision Goggle (NVG) certified. The State Patrol’s Bell 407 has the capability of transmitting live video from its externally mounted thermal and day light video camera to mobile receivers on the ground. This exceptional capability provides incident commanders on the ground an aerial view to better manage any critical situation.” – Nebraska State Patrol website
“The Cessna Turbo Stationair with the Garmin G1000 avionics panel is a fully IFR capable, technologically advanced aircraft with significant payload capability. Two of the three State Patrol Stationair aircraft are equipped with provisions to allow FLIR and video down-link capability. All are equipped with additional wing tip mounted fuel tanks to allow for extended endurance of up to 8 hours. That additional endurance is ideal during surveillance operations or assignments with extended transit times.” – Nebraska State Patrol website
A video featured on NSP’s page shows shots of the Bell 407 helicopter flying surveillance missions as a metal riff plays, interspersed with footage of militarized SWAT team activity including the use of attack dogs and armored vehicles.
So far, North Dakota has incurred $287,000 in expenses to be repaid to Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reported on November 30. On November 21st, Nebraska residents delivered a petition with over 29,000 signatures asking Governor Pete Ricketts to cease providing law enforcement to put down Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Several of the emails we received from open records request also showed messages of protest being registered against Nebraska assistance to North Dakota.
One EMAC request sent from North Dakota lists a “demobilization date” of January 22, 2017, but a Public Information Officer from the Nebraska State Patrol told us that all Nebraska law enforcement had been withdrawn from North Dakota “by Thanksgiving.”
The Nebraska EMAC emails we received included four different request forms with varying deployment dates. They are as follows:
- 40 Sworn Law Enforcement Officers – October 16-November 7 2016
- Helicopter Aviation assets w/pilots and associated crew – October 23-November 21 2016 (1, 2)
- URGENT – AVAILABILITY of Sworn Law Enforcement Officers over the next 60 days November 20 2016- January 22 2017
Read the emails below or download the PDF at this link.NEMAemailsbatch1
You can also read the Nebraska EMAC documents found by Melissa Hill on the Muckrock request page.
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Below is Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the [#NoDAPL] anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:
March – May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the “Toxic Tour,” Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple’s email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People’s Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery
- November 8, Dakota Access Announces Plan to Drill Under Missouri River Within Weeks
- November 11, Dakota Access Pipeline Work Stopped As Water Protectors Storm Site; 30+ Arrested
- November 14, #NoDAPL Water Protectors March on ND State Capitol after Caravan Disrupts Construction
- November 14, Mississippi Stand Goes Inside Pipeline and Shuts Down DAPL Construction
- November 14, Army Corps Delays DAPL Easement
- November 15, “No More Stolen Sisters” Demonstration Blockades DAPL Man Camp; 25+ Arrests
- November 16, Despite Army Corps Statement, DAPL Moves Horizontal Drill to Missouri River Crossing
- November 17, Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody
- November 20, Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured
- November 21, Land Defense & Water Protection Actions Ripple Across Turtle Island
- November 22, Hundreds Target U.S. Army Corps Building in St. Paul w #NoDAPL Message
- November 22, Anonymous DDOS Munitions Vendor After Sheriffs Attack #NoDAPL
- November 22, #NoDAPL Water Protector Faces Possible Loss Of Her Arm After Police Attack
- November 24, Water Protectors Bridge onto Turtle Island; Mandan Thanksgiving Street Feast
- November 25, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Announces Intent to Close Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL Camp
- November 29, Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Morton County Sheriff for November 20 Bridge Assault
- December 1, Direct Action Continues To Disrupt Dakota Access Pipeline Construction in Iowa
- December 3, Divest from DAPL; Three Wells Fargo Locations Targeted in Minneapolis, Eight People Locked Down and Two Arrested
- December 4, Army Corps Denies Dakota Access Pipeline Easement
- December 8, Veterans Apologize for Genocide & March to Backwater Bridge in Blizzard