North Dakota brings law enforcement testimony to Dakota Access Pipeline Trial

Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)
Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)

(Bismarck, ND) -- A Dakota Access Pipeline Protest lawsuit against the United States is moving forward with testimony from law enforcement.

The lawsuit claims the Federal Government could have reduced the size of the protest had they intervened sooner. Several members of law enforcement described their experiences during the 2016 protest, saying they were short on federal resources and mixed messaging leading to confusing enforcement. State officials claimed officers were waiting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a leading role in enforcement efforts. Additionally, responding officers say the Corps never clearly demonstrated to protesters laws were being broken in the protests.

 “North Dakota’s lawsuit is about helping to ensure accountability for the federal government,” said North Dakota U.S. Senator John Hoeven. “By refusing to enforce the law and properly police illegal activity on federal lands, the federal government allowed significant costs to the state that are beyond the $10 million that we secured to reimburse the state."

The U.S. believes North Dakota had the primary responsibility in enforcing the law on the land. Lawyers for the U.S. argued the government should not be expected to respond to protests the same way it handles natural disasters. The lawyers also argued that state and local law enforcement already knew they had the authority to escalate, and did not need to wait for permission from federal partners. 

North Dakota is seeking $38 million dollars in compensatory damages. The state has already received $10 million from the U.S. Justice Department. You can find more information by clicking here