MORTON COUNTY, N.D. (KFYR) Dakota Access Pipeline protesters moved on to Mandan Monday to call for Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier's resignation, because law enforcement used water hoses to disperse protesters last night, even though temperatures were in the mid 20s.
Protesters say the tactics are inhumane, but Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he will use what ever force necessary to keep officers safe.
Protesters say law enforcement has gone too far. Using water hoses as a method of crowd control. They say the effects were harsh.
"Many people had symptoms of hypothermia are medical facility inside the camp treated over 200 people," said Thomas Joseph.
The conflict began when protesters tried to remove burned vehicles from the backwater bridge. When they met officers things escalated.
After fires broke out police were using hoses to extinguish them, but they say protesters began throwing objects at them and they used the hoses to control the crowd.
Law enforcement says they will take the appropriate steps to keep officers safe.
"We're just not going to let people or protesters in large groups come in and threaten officers. That's not happening," said Kirchmeier.
There was more than just hoses used to disperse the crowd.
"They were met by brutal force, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets in unbelievable amounts, a horrific scene," said Joseph.
Highway 1806 and the backwater bridge remain closed.
Sixteen protesters were arrested outside the Law Enforcement Center in Mandan Monday after they were asked to return to the sidewalk.
Morton County Sheriff's Department Response:
Morton County Sheriff's spokesman Rob Keller: Circumstances may arise in which our officers reasonably believe that it is impractical or ineffective to use any of the standard tools, weapons and/or methods provided by law enforcement. Our officers may find it more effective or practical to improvise their response to rapidly unfolding conditions they are confronting. In such circumstances, the use of any tool, method or weapon of opportunity must nonetheless be objectively reasonable and utilized only to the degree reasonably necessary to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Water hoses were used to keep distance between officers and the criminal agitators, and to put out fires set by the agitators. It's an alternative to less lethal and chemical munitions.