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Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley on NoDAPL evacuation order and possible DOJ investigation into law enforcement

(KVLY)
Published: Nov. 30, 2016 at 7:38 PM CST
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Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley spoke with us about the governor's emergency evacuation order of DAPL protesters and a possible DOJ investigation into law enforcement at the protest sites.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

(Please note - this transcript was copied from an electronic captioning service. We apologize for any errors, spelling, grammatical, or otherwise.)

Chris Berg:

Governor Dalrymple report earlier today at the press conference clearing up report he issued Monday, ordering protesters to leave the main camp immediately due to harsh winter conditions. Also announced today, the state of North Dakota is going to borrow another $7 million to continue to pay for the law enforcement costs associated with these protests.so now you and I, the taxpayer of North Dakota, that's right, we're on the hook for a total of $17 million dollars due to these protest activities. Are we having fun yet?

Good evening, welcome to point of view, I’m Chris Berg.

Another person, Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley, joins us in studio live tonight.

Let's start with this, this evacuation order caused some consternation, if you will. This is federal Corps land. Does the governor have the authority to ask for that?

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley:

He does have the authority. This is not the first time aware asking them to leave, but it is because of the weather setting in. A lot of people from the camp aren't from North Dakota, have no familiarity with our weather. There’s an immediate need to put that out there, recognizing the danger to the protesters, others who are there and letting them know it's time to decamp.

CB:

Why not issue an emergency immediate evacuation sooner?

DW:

Actually we don't have the authority to push them off there, but let's say there's a snowstorm or flood of some kind, the governor has wide ranking authority. It's dangerous. I've gone winter camping before, it’s fun for the first day. Great equipment, second day is fun. Day 3 it's not dangerous. There are women, children, people not prepared for these conditions. They can leave that encampment, they've been directed now, but at the end of the day the Army Corps controls that particular property because we have pushed them off of the private property. Now it's incumbent upon the federal government to go in and use the force necessary to remove the unlawful protest.

CB:

Are you doing this more as a statement? Because what's in the document, we're asking for an immediate removal or evacuation of this area. Are you doing it as a statement? Because you just said he doesn't have the authority.

DW:

No, it's not a statement. We expect they will take this into consideration -- they've never had a permit for it and now the governor has directed them after the 5th of December they will be viewed as a trespass. People don't get excited about a trespass citation.so many of them committing serious acts against people and property, caused millions of dollars of damage to personal property. Taking over public spaces, the list goes on and on. They’re not going to go run away crying by the fact they've been sighted by the federal government.to remove them from the property, I would say we have to get to the point where the end is in sight.

CB:

We'll get to December 5th in a moment. First, you guys issued this order allegedly for the safety of this people at the camp.

DW:

I interrupt you. Actually for the safety of the people at the camp. We’re concerned about that, it's not allegedly. We’re concerned about that. As a side benefit, they would be gone.

CB:

I understand that. There’s a lot of natives saying this is where we were born and raised. My point is, chairman Archambault, I stated previously, the most dangerous thing we can do is force well situated campers from their shelters and into the cold. You say what?

DW:

I'll tell you this, if Chairman Archambault -- there's not unified leadership there, by the way. If they can get together and get to a point to say we'll have 200, 300 people -- I can guarantee you when I get back to Bismarck tonight I can get together the bus system to get them out of there, get them down to cannonball, to the casino or reservation or points beyond. We’d be glad to help them in that regard.

CB:

This is about the safety of the people are and yet within the executive order they say aware not going to allow supply trucks. You said if we do see supply trucks they're subject to a $1,000 fine. How does fining supply trucks keep people safe?

DW:

We haven't backed off that. The governor's language was pretty clear and there's some misinterpretation --

CB:

You are going to stop supply trucks from going down?

DW:

If someone is bringing down equipment going into that area -- figure this out, Chris. You’re going on month number 4. They've been directed by the federal government and state government not to erect permanent structures. They’re in an unlawful encampment. Unlawful activity has been springing off that. Would it be within the reach of the existing law enforcement to go in there and stop and strengthening those -- We had that authority to stop people bringing what I’ll call illegal activity to that camp directly. If they're bringing firearms, incendiary devices, Molotov cocktails, all of them used against law enforcement. Those are different things from the support of human life, which is water, blankets, food, now you're in an emergency situation. That’s what was said today, that's not going to be stopped.

CB:

Are you going to stop and search every truck that goes down there?

DW:

No.

CB:

How do you know if they're going to bring Molotov cocktails, guns, sweaters, kittens?

DW:

There's a lot of things that lead to interesting arrests, someone has a taillight, someone is driving drunk. There have been a lot of arrests around these encampments. Every step of the way we tried to articulate why they shouldn't be camping in the ditch or do other things. One incident forgotten, we're telling them you can't be in the ditch. No, it's dangerous to be camping in a ditch and sure enough, drunk driver came along, careened off the road, chased by BCA, careened off the road and luckily one person in there ended up with a broken leg. That’s better than if they had four or five kids in there or worse.

CB:

Just for clarity, you will stop supply trucks depending what's inside of them?

DW:

If law enforcement comes into contact with what they know to be contraband, yeah, they'll be stopped just like they would have been before this arrest. You don't have a right to be in an unlawful encampment. If I go out right now and you can tell I probably won't stop talking, I jump in the vehicle, drive over and rob a bank, keep talking, it doesn't trump all the other rights. That’s a ridiculous example, but so are these examples that because they have going on their mind, they get to subject all types of activity.

CB:

I get it, but they're doing it under this administration.

DW:

They're doing it, Chris, it's been constrained. They’ve been pushed off the private property. The pipeline has been completed. That took millions of dollars and lots of man-hours protecting the lawful commerce. It’s been completed to the point the Obama administration is being asked to issue the last permit.no loss of life or serious bodily injury -- I’ll check that, one serious bodily injury –

CB:

One woman might be blind. I want to move on to the law enforcement issue.

DW:

Inflicted by herself.

CB:

Who are you talking about specifically?

DW:

The woman with shrapnel in her arm.

CB:

You're a former U.S. Attorney, all of the lawsuits, tactics, excessive force you'd by law enforcement at this point, has it been legal?

DW:

Law enforcement has been professional every step of the way, they have shown tremendous restraint, they've been threatened, followed, have their homes surveilled by people. I’ve gone out there myself, I’ve watched it on the video and we've had all the accounts. Chris, they have conducted themselves in a way North Dakotans should be proud.

CB:

Would you label it legal?

DW:

You bet.

CB:

Others are seeking a DOJ investigation into the use of what they're dealing excessive force, especially from September 20th. When you look at what happened in Ferguson, same thing, DOJ, President Obama, Erik Holder, AG, they went in and said this cop had a right to shoot Michael brown. Would you welcome these naysayers to say everything has been done under the law?

DW:

I'd welcome Senator Franken to come over, I’ll get him an interview with anybody he wants to talk to. Maybe one of those people he should interview would be Heidi Heitkamp. I was talking with her for a half hour, we've talked about this a lot. She was with me in the emergency operation center the night we were watching when the riot broke out and they were attacking police trying to get across the bridge. I would say Senator Franken should come out here and grab some facts before he --

CB:

Say, DOJ, come in, I’m a former U.S. attorney, come in and we'll do an investigation and show -- I think you're right, they've shown tremendous restraint, let's are prove to the people of America it was legal.

DW:

Two things, it will be investigated. This is one of the most videotaped incidents, one of the most important law enforcement incidents in our history. There have been a couple incidents along the way, injuries have been alleged by protesters. They never walk out with the people, here is the person injured, here are the records from the hospital. I’ll say this, Chris, it's easy to say, maybe you should prove that allegation. What if I said, you look pretty nice in your suits, maybe we should investigate your financial life steel. You’d look at me and say, Drew, where are you getting that? Chris, prove to us you make that much money in your life. In this instant, law enforcement is out in the open, they are filming and taping as they're going.

CB:

People wanted to go in certain areas and weren't allowed to go as press. Last question. Is Sophia Walinsky cooperating in this investigation? Is she cooperating in the investigation?

DW:

I don't know if I should characterize it as cooperating. Investigations are thorough, in full and that will be known in the fullness of time. Don’t be alarmed with the charges come out of that and who they're against.

CB:

Stay with us. Governor Dalrymple asking for a meeting with the standing rock tribal council and much much more coming up. Head to our website, share your point of view with us, we'll be right back.