National Sheriff's Association Executive Director Jonathan F. Thompson discusses the pipeline protests

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 7:15 PM CDT
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Jonathan F. Thompson, Executive Director of the National Sheriff's Association, joined us via the phone to talk about the pipeline protests in Western North Dakota.


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


Bryan Niewind, ND Highway Patrol: It's unbelievable that a law enforcement officer was not shot yesterday. Again, law enforcement showed restraint. A firearm was introduced and fired to law enforcement. We did not fire upon her. We took her into custody and she is safely in corrections now.


Chris Berg: That is North Dakota Highway Patrol captain at a press conference last week talking about how lucky we are that none of our law enforcement officers were shot and of course, the incredible amount restraint they showed after a person fired at them three times. This is important as well. Standing Rock chairman Dave Archambault put out a statement, I’m quoting here, we don't have weapons, we have people and prayer.

Happy Halloween, I’m Chris Berg, thank you for joining us. Thursday we broke the news that shots had been fired into the police line at the DAPL protest. Today, from Denver Colorado, charged with attempted murder, carrying a weapon and several other charges.

According to the affidavit, during transport, she told the police officers, I’m quoting here, you're lucky I didn't kill all of you, expletive word there.

Officers found marijuana and metal knuckles on her as well.

You remember last week I told you 90% of the protesters were not from North Dakota. As I stated, she's from Denver, Colorado. Here we have an eco-terrorist wanting to shoot and kill our law enforcement. We get to pay for her eco terrorist fact the current costs of the protest is up to $5,000 per day. The state has gone through nearly $6 million since late September and it was announced today that you and I, the takes appear of North Dakota, we might be borrowing another $4 million from the state bank of North Dakota to continue to cover the costs of these protests.

Again, I’d like to remind you, 90% of the arrests of these protesters are out of state people, and yet you and I get to pick up the tab. the protests are leaking into the financial sector as well. Today in San Francisco protesters were outside the lobby of city bank asking them to stop financing the project. They are doing this in direct response to the 141 people, these are their words, the 141 people violently arrested last Thursday here in North Dakota.

I'll remind you, our officers were shot at three times, they did not fire bank once at these militant eco terrorist protesters. With that being said I want to clear up rumors flying around social media. People are claiming they're being arrested and locked up in dog kennels. This is not accurate. Because the jails are overwhelmed with protesters, Morton County has brought in 10 by 14 feet holding cells that have been approved by the department of corrections. They do not follow Facebook, there's another rumor going around that as well. I want to bring in our special guest joining us, he's going to be in North Dakota tonight and tomorrow, ease at a layover in Minneapolis, national shares association and director, CEO. Director of external affairs for FEMA, Mr. Jonathan Thompson. Thank you for joining us on our lay over and we welcome you to North Dakota, sir.

Jonathan F. Thompson: It's an honor to be with you and have a chance to come back to North Dakota.

CB: You've obviously seen a lot of emergency situations in your career, incredible resumé, if you will. How do you -- when you look at the situation, how do you assess the situation so far and how does it end well for everyone involved?

JT: That's a great question. First and foremost, this has not been a peaceful protest. From the start this is all about what a group of people have wanted to fictionalize. We owe a debt of gratitude to law enforcement in Morton County. They have gone beyond. They’ve done it peacefully and respectfully and that speaks volumes about the people of North Dakota, because that obviously drives an enormous amount of what is expected of its law enforcement. The third thing I would say is that for those who keep saying people are being arrested violently or being mistreated, that's just outright lies and I think people recognize that. I’m sure the people of North Dakota do. It’s all designed to try to inflame motions on the protesters side. It’s hyperbole.

CB: You sent a letter last woke to our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, for a face to face sit down. She’s denied that request.

JT: Yes has she denied the –

CB: Why has she denied the request and what's --

JT: You have good sources. I don't generally talk publicly about my discourse with the attorney general, and what I can tell you is that I think they have engaged. I have not spoken with the attorney general. I know she is been traveling and got her hands full with a whole host of other things as you can imagine. I do fully expect that show and I will have a conversation and it goes to the heart of the matter, which is the protesters started out on federal property, they used it as staging areas, that's not property a sheriff has jurisdiction over. However, what they've done is gone on to people's private property, farms, they go on to landowner's property and violate the trespassing rules. Then they proceed to threaten people, threaten their livelihood, their ability to get their crops in, cattle moved. That’s a violation of law. What we have tried to convey to the justice department officials is that hey, look, if this were anywhere else you would jump in. We're asking you to jump in, we need our help, the sheriff needs your help and the people of Morton County need your help.

CB: I'm going to road to you in your letter, you said, there are now vocal concerns that one tribal sister has exercised her concerns as white house -- to actively thwart the operation of federal law enforcement. That’s a pretty serious alleges. What evidence do you have to support that sort of assertion?

JT: Well, Chris, again, I don't want to put this into the public market of ideas and discourse. You know, I stand behind what he people have told me. As I said in my note, there are concerns that have been raised by people on the ground in North Dakota about this situation. Obviously somebody with a great deal of influence. She’s publicly stated she has a job created just for her in the white house, in the Obama administration. It’s a matter of public record where people -- when they visit the white house, when they visit other agencies. This came to us anonymously, we're concerned. We think that if this is the case, that somebody has got to definitely look into it and make sure that the appropriate lobbying laws and disclosures were followed and approved. I’m concerned and in this country you're still innocent until proven guilty, that's why I was careful in my letter to say if this is true it will be investigated.

CB: How will you make that investigation take place?

JT: It's up to the federal government to do that. We can't force anybody to do something like that. Clearly there are -- you know, there are more than one people talking about this. This has been talked about for quite a few days, weeks, actually. When I heard about it, it was almost the last straw for me. I think that the people of Morton County are up against a lot of force here and their interests, frankly are the ones that are paramount here. It’s not the pipeline company, it's not out of state agitators and the people of Morton County. I’ve seen interestingly enough, Chris, that a number of leaders from the standing rock tribe, a number of citizens are standing up and saying, wait a minute, this is not right, something is wrong, we need to get our lives back, this is not peaceful demonstrations. You had mentioned in your lead up to the shooting, last week's arrests, also, a number of violent activities, Molotov cocktails were thrown at law enforcement, log, rolling, trying to stampede livestock into arresting officers. These are actions of people trying to destructure and harm and take what is not there is.

CB: National sheriff's Director CEO, Jonathan F. Thompson. We appreciate having you back, sir.

JT: Thank you, any time.

CB: Stay with us. When we come back, we're going to talk about the tobacco you know, North Dakota is asking you the voters to potentially raise the tobacco tax 400%.we're going to have a special guest to talk about that. Let us know your point of view of what Mr. Thompson had to say. We’ll be right back.