MANDAN, N.D. (Valley News Live) Law enforcement officers assigned to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest arrested 21 protesters at two construction sites along the DAPL south and west of St. Anthony.
Officers arrested the protesters for various crimes including resisting arrest, criminal trespass on private property and possession of stolen property.
When officers responded they witnessed numerous people and horses on private property.
Due to the current threat to public safety, law enforcement responded with specialized equipment and weapons to include armored vehicles and less lethal ammunition using bean-bag rounds.
A protester on horseback charged at an officer in what was viewed as an act of aggression.
The officer responded by raising his weapon.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says, “Our officers are trained to respond to the threats they perceive and to take appropriate action. A charging horse combined with totality of the situation presented an imminent threat to the officer.”
With continued illegal activity in the area, Sheriff Kirchmeier has increased patrols and visibility in southern Morton County.
“The safety of our citizens is paramount. Our number one priority is and always will be public safety for the residents of Morton County and our visitors,” said Kirchmeier.
Police say there were reports today of an airplane flying over the protesters and dropping mustard or tear gas.
Investigations into this rumor determined it was a crop duster spraying a field.
Tow trucks were called to transport 5 impounded vehicles.
After today’s arrests, there have been 95 arrested for protest activities since the start of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.