Urge Indiana Police Sent to Standing Rock to Stand in Solidarity with Water Protectors Now
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We demand a ban on any future Indiana law enforcement presence at Standing Rock, and request a public apology from Indiana police agencies for deploying officers against the peaceful protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Indiana police officers, we call on you now to stand with the people you are employed to protect, and against the corporate greed the drives the pipeline. Now is your opportunity to live out your mission statement: “To serve and protect the community by preserving the peace.” Stand with us, and stand in solidarity with Standing Rock now.
INDIANA OFFICERS AT STANDING ROCK
In late October, police from six Northwest Indiana police departments voluntarily deployed to Standing Rock, North Dakota for 14 days. Indiana police departments made up a third of the total departments present on site, and included the Lake County Sheriff, and the Munster, Schererville, Griffith, Hammond, and Michigan City police departments.
Management Assistance Compact enacted by the governor of North Dakota, Indiana was called upon for help by the Morton County Sheriff Department, but Indiana was not required to respond. It was the choice of Indiana police whether to support the pipeline, and they chose to support a corporation instead of the people they claim to protect. Our community was left in question and distress, knowing that members of our community had traveled to Standing Rock to stand with protectors, and were being met with armed aggression and injustice from the very people who they'd always trusted to keep their families safe at home.
Indiana officers left home on Oct. 22 to provide backup to a local militarized police force and private security guards who had already been using pepper spray, rubber bullets, teargas, and dogs against peaceful water protectors and journalists. Our officers were aware of this, but still joined them.
Five days into their deployment, 200 police in riot gear, as well as National Guard soldiers, conducted a military-style sweep of a camp that was set up in the path of the pipeline. They utilized noise cannons, pepper spray, bean bag rounds, and excessive force. They made over 140 arrests on charges of criminal trespassing and rioting, but videos reveal the arrest of elders in prayer and those simply standing in silent resistance. This was just one of many incidents of excessive violence against the water protectors while the Indiana Police were at Standing Rock.
Morton County Sheriff's Department estimates the cost of law enforcement for these two weeks is in the range of $1,200,000. While North Dakota plans to pay Indiana back, our state tax dollars have covered the expenses and salaries of the officers in the meantime.
When our Indiana officers deployed to site, they did not turn to face the oil company workers, demanding that they halt unlawful construction. Rather, they faced the unarmed Indigenous people who had taken a stand to protect the water for the sake of all living beings. If the ones we call on to keep our communities safe are willing to take these harmful measures against peaceful protesters in North Dakota, how confident can we truly be in our safety and justice here at home?
This is an opportunity for healing and an opportunity for resolution. Our police must utilize their authority to protect and serve the people, not the corporate pursuit of fossil fuel profits. For the sake of sustaining our lives and our planet, we urge Indiana police to stand in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock.
MORE ABOUT DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
Indiana officers opposed Indigenous people on their own treaty land, as well as allied environmental activists from around the globe who had gathered to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This is the largest gathering of Indigenous tribes the country has seen since the 1800s.
The Sioux people call this land home, guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851. Yet, an armed occupying force continues to violate them on their own land. In addition, the pipeline has destroyed sacred burial grounds of the Sioux. (What if YOUR Grandma was dug up from her grave?)
The oil pipeline threatens the contamination of the Missouri River, which is the source of drinking water for 18 million people downstream. The pipeline company continued to drill near the Missouri River without first acquiring proper legal permits. Clean water is a resource we all—police officers included—need to survive.
What wrongdoings will we allow to be done to our human family and our only inhabitable planet, before we demand that corporate greed take a backseat to the lives of our people and the planet that sustains us? Now is the time to let our voices be heard and encourage the Indiana police to stand on the right side of history at this critical moment in time.
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