Energy

Court Docs Show Dakota Protesters Allegedly Threatened To Assassinate ND’s Governor

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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North Dakota police officers allege that Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) opponents threatened to assassinate the state’s former governor, a Republican who supports the controversial project.

Cody Larson, an analyst with the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation Criminal Intelligence, detailed numerous threats on social media against former Gov. Jack Dalrymple, including a Dec. 12 call to the Republican’s office demanding the governor resign “or he won’t make it until Wednesday.”

North Dakota’s law enforcement officers said highway patrol took the threats seriously, and beefed up the governor’s security, according to court filings connected to a lawsuit filed in November accusing police of excessive force in a Nov. 20 clash.

“He normally didn’t have Highway Patrol with him a lot of the time. They were more in the vicinity after the threats,” Chief of Staff Ron Rauschenberger said in the filings.

Burleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha said his office is considering charging the man who allegedly made the threats — it is not yet known whether the man is a pipeline opponent.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who has dealt with the protests for months, said he and his family had been threatened through social media as well, according to the court filings. He also claimed his home address, and other personal information,  “have been published on the internet with invitations to commit violence against me or to kill me.”

Anti-DAPL activists argued in the lawsuit that they’ve been mistreated by law enforcement, and allege that nearly 200 protesters were seriously injured in the November clash. Standing Rock Sioux members and environmentalists believe the now-rejected DAPL could potentially poison the tribe’s water supply and trample its tribal lands.

Kirchmeier and other law enforcement have arrested more than 550 people since summer after violent confrontations with Standing Rock Sioux members and various out-of-state activists.

Agitators set nine vehicles ablaze during October protests, and destroyed construction equipment, leaving debris and burned out vehicles strewn across a bridge, which resulted in the closure of one of the state’s main highways.

Kirchmeier has argued for months that the protests have grown increasingly violent since the beginning of summer.

His office said on Sept. 9, for instance, that four security guards not affiliated with law enforcement and two guard dogs were injured as several hundred protesters living in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation confronted pipeline workers at the site.

One of the security officers was taken to a hospital, while the two guard dogs were taken to veterinary clinic, according to law enforcement officials. She said there weren’t any reports of protestors being injured.

Protesters refute the claim, suggesting instead that law enforcement in the area has spent months pummeling protesters. They even blame officers for maiming a woman at a protest rally in November.

The Army Corps of Engineers rejected the previously approved DAPL route, which was scheduled to run 90 feet underneath the Missouri River. It is currently winding its way through the court system.

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