Tell the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and demilitarize police responses to nonviolent #NoDAPL water protectors.
This weekend we joined with over 10,000 from across the globe who have joined in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline could destroy ancestral burial grounds and poison the water supply for an entire sovereign nation and millions of Americans downstream who rely on the Missouri River.
This sovereign nation of the Standing Rock Sioux — one of many constantly threatened by environmental injustice —is fighting to keep its water safe and clean by means of an historic protest. But law enforcement agencies are treating them like wartime enemies. Riot police raiding a protest camp even yanked indigenous people from prayer in sweat lodges. Last week in below-freezing weather, law enforcement deployed tear gas, water cannons, percussion grenades, and rubber bullets against hundreds protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, injuring more than 300, including Sophia who still struggles to keep her shattered arm. Right now on a North Dakota prairie, nonviolent protesters are being confronted by police in riot gear with armored military vehicles, automatic rifles, sonic weapons, concussion grenades, attack dogs, pepper spray, and beanbag bullets.
North Dakota has received $3 million worth of military equipment from the federal government through the Defense Department’s 1033 program. On top of that, more than a half dozen states have sent equipment and officers to North Dakota. They have tanks waiting at the bottom of Turtle Island. The DOJ can help stop this militarized response to indigenous activists and their allies fighting for clean water. It oversees the various federal programs that may have supplied much of the equipment being used against protesters—and it can put those oversight measures to use.
Tell the DOJ to investigate possible constitutional violations and suspend police use of federally supplied military equipment.