Omaha, NE – The Omaha World-Herald is reporting that Kyle Kirchmeier, the sheriff of Morton County, North Dakota, is providing consultation services to law enforcement in areas where the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (KXL) is expected to be built.
Kirchmeier is known for commanding law enforcement actions in North Dakota to defend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) against resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other indigenous peoples who say DAPL threatens their land and water, and that it was approved without their consent.
Actions taken by law enforcement under Kirchmeier’s command have included beatings, the use of large amounts of pepper spray and teargas, firing rubber bullets at close range, deploying officers in armored military vehicles, surveillance and harassment of protesters, arrests of journalists reporting on protests, and spraying crowds with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. Kirchmeier is also named as a defendant in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit, along with several other North Dakota law enforcement officials.
Many law enforcement agencies from outside of North Dakota deployed to Morton County under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to help repress demonstrations against DAPL. Some agencies sent personnel there with the intention to study mass protest and learn lessons that they could apply at home, should they find themselves in a similar situation. Reviewing police documents from deployments to the area near the Standing Rock Reservation has led some to conclude that law enforcement used the DAPL protests as a “laboratory” to test crowd control techniques.
Documents obtained by MuckRock from the Wyoming State Patrol (WHP) detail WHP’s takeaway lessons, in which they suggest improvements they could make if they had to deal with such a situation again. These included increased Mobile Field Force (riot police) training, conducting more surveillance on protest organizers, studying how to disable lockbox devices, and having a police propaganda media outlet that would counteract “false stories that different people put out on social media and the false reports from so called media such as Unicorn Riot…”
The northern leg of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline was denied a permit last year by the Obama administration, but was approved by the Trump administration earlier this year. Many common threads exist in the conflicts surrounding the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, a dynamic, it seems, that is not lost on law enforcement:
“Sheriff Kirchmeier said that several other states, including South Dakota, have asked him to relay what he learned from the Standing Rock protests, and said that eventually he expects to talk with those from Nebraska … Kirchmeier said some tactical lessons were learned in confronting protesters, but he declined to share them ….
…Law enforcement and county officials interviewed say there have been some discussions about what might be coming, but they declined to say whether any protest-control training is underway.
Taylor Gage, a spokesman for [Nebraska] Gov. Pete Ricketts, said that commenting on such security preparations would “jeopardize” those plans. The Nebraska State Patrol is well aware of what happened in North Dakota, patrol spokesman Mike Meyer wrote in an email, and regularly trains for “contingencies” such as protests and natural disasters.
Meyer said that recent purchases by the patrol of the sort of nonlethal devices used in crowd control—such as impact sponges and rubber-ball blast and pepper spray grenades—were not out of the ordinary, and are part of the agency’s regular equipment purchases.” – Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska law enforcement, Keystone XL pipeline foes prepare for possible protests
While the northern leg of KXL has not yet been built, the southern leg of the pipeline became operational in January 2014. However, before its completion, KXL’s southern leg experienced many delays and setbacks in Texas and Oklahoma due to direct actions carried out by the groups Tar Sands Blockade, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, and others.
Both those for and against the KXL expect large protests and direct actions to take place against its construction, in ways that will echo both the earlier resistance to the southern leg of Keystone XL as well as the more recent, and much larger, opposition to the DAPL.
Indigenous water protectors recently founded a new pipeline resistance encampment in Eagle Butte, SD to prepare to take action against Keystone XL, alongside other “spirit camps” which already exist directly on the proposed route for the KXL.
If South Dakota and Nebraska face large pipeline protests like those against DAPL, they may follow the example of North Dakota and Morton County by declaring a state of emergency, which allows them to deputize out-of-state law enforcement to assist them under the EMAC.
Both Nebraska and South Dakota sent law enforcement officers to help the Morton County Sheriff quell the #NoDAPL movement. Documents from the Nebraska State Patrol, acquired by Unicorn Riot through a public records request, also show that Nebraska lent North Dakota several aircraft to help conduct aerial surveillance on water protector encampments near the Dakota Access Pipeline route. Some of the emails we obtained also seemed to indicate ongoing informal discussions between North Dakota Highway Patrol and Nebraska State Patrol about #NoDAPL protests, i.e. a back-channel relationship which may already be coming into play in preparations for KXL protests.
To help our volunteer-operated, horizontally-organized, non-profit media collective please consider a tax-deductible donation: Below is Unicorn Riot's coverage of the [#NoDAPL] anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present: March - May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the "Toxic Tour," Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple's email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People's Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery
- November 8, Dakota Access Announces Plan to Drill Under Missouri River Within Weeks
- November 11, Dakota Access Pipeline Work Stopped As Water Protectors Storm Site; 30+ Arrested
- November 14, #NoDAPL Water Protectors March on ND State Capitol after Caravan Disrupts Construction
- November 14, Mississippi Stand Goes Inside Pipeline and Shuts Down DAPL Construction
- November 14, Army Corps Delays DAPL Easement
- November 15, "No More Stolen Sisters" Demonstration Blockades DAPL Man Camp; 25+ Arrests
- November 16, Despite Army Corps Statement, DAPL Moves Horizontal Drill to Missouri River Crossing
- November 17, Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody
- November 20, Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured
- November 21, Land Defense & Water Protection Actions Ripple Across Turtle Island
- November 22, Hundreds Target U.S. Army Corps Building in St. Paul w #NoDAPL Message
- November 22, Anonymous DDOS Munitions Vendor After Sheriffs Attack #NoDAPL
- November 22, #NoDAPL Water Protector Faces Possible Loss Of Her Arm After Police Attack
- November 24, Water Protectors Bridge onto Turtle Island; Mandan Thanksgiving Street Feast
- November 25, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Announces Intent to Close Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL Camp
- November 29, Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Morton County Sheriff for November 20 Bridge Assault
- December 1, Direct Action Continues To Disrupt Dakota Access Pipeline Construction in Iowa
- December 3, Divest from DAPL; Three Wells Fargo Locations Targeted in Minneapolis, Eight People Locked Down and Two Arrested
- December 4, Army Corps Denies Dakota Access Pipeline Easement
- December 8, Veterans Apologize for Genocide & March to Backwater Bridge in Blizzard
- December 8, Nebraska Supplied State Troopers, Surveillance Aircraft to North Dakota Under EMAC
- December 12, #DivestFromDAPL Action Disrupts Wells Fargo Branch Grand Opening, Doors Secured with Bike Locks
- December 19, First Water Protector Trials Set for January as Another ND Pipeline Leaks
- January 2, Massive #DivestFromDAPL Banner Unfurled During Vikings Game at US Bank Stadium
- January 5, Interview: Water Protector who Scaled Vikings Stadium to Drop “US Bank DIVEST #NoDAPL” Banner
- January 15, Indigenous-Led Pipeline Resistance Camps Spread Across the USA
- January 24, Hundreds of Minnesotans Protest, Take to the Streets on Trump’s Inauguration
- January 25, Trump Pushes Forward DAPL & KXL Pipeline Approvals; Resistance Continues
- January 30, Denver Joins Global Prayer Action to #DefundDAPL
- February 7, Army Corps Grants Easement as Repression Continues at Standing Rock
- February 17, Eviction Threats Loom as Hundreds Remain at #NoDAPL Camps
- February 22, Militarized Force Executes Eviction of Main #NoDAPL Encampment
- February 23, North Dakota Dismantles #NoDAPL Oceti Camp
- February 27, Three Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Trial This Week From DAPL Coverage
- March 2, Three Unicorn Riot Journalists Have #NoDAPL Arrest Charges Dropped
- March 11, Rise With Standing Rock: Native Nations March on Denver
- March 22, Dakota Access Pipeline Sabotaged in Several States, Authorities Claim
- April 5, One Year Sacred Stone Celebration
- April 16, North Dakota Sheriff Advising South Dakota and Nebraska on Keystone XL
- April 16, North Dakota Sheriff Advising South Dakota and Nebraska on Keystone XL
- May 10, Dakota Access Pipeline Spills at South Dakota Pump Station
- May 29, DAPL Security Leak Shows Coordinated Surveillance and Repression of Water Protectors