By C.S. Hagen
CANNON BALL, ND – Movie star Shailene Woodley was arrested by Morton County Sheriff’s deputies Monday, Indigenous People’s Day, during an action against Dakota Access Pipeline.
One day after the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. gave Dakota Access LLC the green light to speed the pipeline into a 20-mile no work zone leading up to Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, hundreds gathered to pray and dance, effectively shutting down pipeline activity. For weeks, Dakota Access LLP, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, was ordered to halt all work on the pipeline within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe along the Missouri River.
Despite the court ruling, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to give its permission for Dakota Access Pipeline to build on Corps lands bordering or under Lake Oahe, and once again recommended that DAPL “voluntarily pause all construction activity” on private lands, according to a press release made available by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Morton County law enforcement grabbed the Divergent series actress’s jacket as she was walking with her mother toward their vehicle to return to Big Camp, and arrested her for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor, which if found guilty could warrant one year in prison and or USD 2,000 in fines. Woodley asked officers why she was singled out for arrest.
“You were identified,” the arresting officer said.
“Alright, I’m being arrested.” Woodley smiled into the camera. Her mother filmed as the officer shackled her daughter’s wrists. More than 40,000 viewers across the world watched as she filmed on live to her Facebook page.
“So everybody knows, we were going to our vehicle, which they had all surrounded, and were waiting for me with giant guns and giant truck behind them, just so they could arrest me.” Woodley said. Law enforcement then led her away in handcuffs.
Before her arrest, Woodley, an environmental activist, moved to an area she thought safe, saying that she did not want to be arrested. This was not her first trip to North Dakota to assist Standing Rock and thousands of Native Americans and other activists against Dakota Access Pipeline. In August, Woodley traveled to the Standing Rock encampment and to Bismarck.
Woodley posted a USD 500 bond, and could face up to three months in prison and USD 3,000 in fines, according to Morton County Sheriff Department spokesman Rob Keller. Her court date is set for October 24. A total of 27 people were arrested Monday after approximately 300 people protested at two construction sites along the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“All 27 were arrested on the same charges, engaging in a riot and criminal trespass,” Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, who currently serves as Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier’s operations chief in Morton County, said. “She [Woodley] was one of 27, she was no different than the others.” Laney said he hopes the activists return home now that their message has been heard across America and the U.S. Court of Appeals has denied Standing Rock’s petition for a second time.
Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, private security personnel were mysteriously gone along the pipeline on Monday, the day formerly celebrated as Columbus Day. “It’s now police policing the pipeline, and they’re there, everywhere, all along the pipeline,” Myron Dewey, a filmmaker and drone operator, said.
Law enforcement have arrested 123 protestors since early August, according to Morton County Sheriff’s Department. Some of those arrested include: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II, Red Warriors Camp media spokesperson Cody Hall, citizen journalists, and charges were filed against third-party candidate Jill Stein, her running mate Ajamu Baraka, and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman.
Late last week North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple authorized Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier to reach out to the National Sheriff’s Association for assistance. Kirchmeier believes the collaboration is a win, and 40 deputies from Wisconsin began taking 21-day shifts to assist Morton County law enforcement. He also plans to engage in a more proactive stance against anyone who breaks the law. So far, the North Dakota National Guard is still acting in a limited capacity, primarily working the roadblock on Highway 1806.
“We have basically tapped the resources to a level that we’ve never seen here in North Dakota for one particular incident,” Kirchmeier said in a press conference.
“This is where the tax dollars are going,” Dewey said. “You’re seeing militarization of a police force that is not trained in militarization. That’s today.
“It’s really sad. It’s women and children, they’re Native Americans, and people from all over the world.” Much of the assistance is coming from Bismarck in the form of winter clothing, food, materials for shelters, Dewey said, but those who are helping are afraid to give their names for fear of repercussions when they return home.