Plans to reroute the Dakota Access Pipeline may have been announced earlier this month, but it’s still worth examining videos the Morton County Sheriff's Department released about ongoing pipeline protests in a series called “Know the Truth,” as Mother Jones pointed out Wednesday. The videos, apparently aiming to reveal the true nature of the protests, say there were “militant” activists hidden among peaceful protesters and that at least one protester hit officers with snowballs. One video is about authorities fixing an upside down U.S. flag placed by protesters after being “bothered” by it.
In the video "You Can Protest, But Do It Lawfully" Cass County Sheriff Paul D. Laney says, "Their hope is that we will come out and do something to women and children, and there's no way that we would ever do that. A lot of the times the militant ones will disguise themselves in there, and the next thing we know, what we thought was going to be peaceful or prayerful, now they're coming for us."
Except the Morton County Sheriff's Office, the police department most involved with pipeline protests, did do something when it used water canons against water protectors in freezing temperatures as well as tear gas. One water protector was reportedly hit with a concussion grenade and almost lost an arm. Vic Mensa, who went to Standing Rock, talked to Complex about his experience at the protests and said he saw militarized police with tanks, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades engaging in chemical warfare.
Another video titled "Protestors Harass Female Officers" shows two officers telling how two men who were protesting, possibly veterans, hit them with snowballs and called them names. The videos date back to Nov. 28 with, the most recent dated Dec.9.
Mother Jones reported that Morton County has arrested over 600 people in relation to protests and has spent $10 million policing the situation.