The Protest is huge…However, the proper response to resolve the protest, from a law enforcement standpoint, is to call the National Guard or the North Dakota State police. However, that’s not what’s happening at Standing Rock.
Local law enforcement agencies from around the country dispatched police officers to Standing Rock to back DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) which, according to Time magazine, is owned by the private corporation Energy Transfer Partners (ETP).
This is problematic for a few reasons.
Local law enforcement agencies who dispatched police officers to Standing Rock and every police officer who went to Standing Rock may be acting without any legal authority. You see, these police departments and officers were hired and commissioned in their local communities to serve and protect those communities exclusively. These agencies weren’t hired to protect the corporate interests of ETP at Standing Rock. If ETP needs protection…they need to hire private security.
While these cops may be legitimate police officers in their own local communities…they’re just private citizens everywhere else.
Fun Fact: Impersonating a police officer is a felony.
Further, do you think the citizens of these local communities would readily agree to prioritize the tax payer dollars used to employ these officers to protect the private interests of Energy Transfer Partners over protecting their local neighborhoods?
More importantly…each police department has different hiring standards and requirements for police officers in every local jurisdiction…Do you think Standing Rock police checked these visiting police officers backgrounds to ensure these foreign law enforcement officers met their criteria?
I don’t believe that either.
So in each case…each police department who sent police officers or material support to Standing Rock may be committing tax fraud…by virtue of using tax payer funds to promote the private interests of a large corporation…in this case…Energy Transfer Partners. This is a crime and in many jurisdictions, a felony. Many of these departments sent officers across state lines…for them, their actions might be a Federal crime.
More disturbing, since it’s primarily Native Americans and their supporters who’re protesting…this could be considered a hate crime, as they’re targeting a specific ethnic group as private citizens masquerading as cops. If minorities have to follow the law…so should the police.
These crooked cops should be held accountable in every way possible.
Every local community should inquire if tax payer dollars were used to send officers to Standing Rock and request a complete accounting. More importantly…have each department identify each and every officer who participated in this operation…whether they were a decision maker or an officer dispatched to Standing Rock. Since each police department is a government agency…all citizens have freedom of information rights to access this information…both locally and federally.
After finding out how much tax payer dollars were used for Standing rock…file a criminal complaint with State and Federal prosecuting authorities for misuse of taxpayer funds to further the interests of a private corporation. Each local officer who went from their local community to pretend to be a police officer at Standing rock should have criminal charges filed against him or her for masquerading as a police officer and any crimes they committed while pretending to be a cop.
In Federal Court…these tax payers should file a class action lawsuit against their local police department, Energy Transfer Partners, and any local police authority at Standing Rock to recover these misused tax payer dollars. This suit should also address any other damages that occurred as a result of the absence of these officers. For example, crimes committed in these local communities that didn’t get a timely response from local police departments because of officers dispatched to protect the corporate interests of ETP at Standing Rock.
At Standing Rock, every protester and their supporters should file a class action lawsuit in both Federal Court and in the International Court, to hold every police officer, police department, and those departments’ local communities accountable for civil rights violations…including violations of due process, hate crimes, and others.
Holding the police accountable for hate crimes against minorities is long overdue. Holding them accountable for Standing Rock will send a message across the nation that the police should be working for all people…not just the rich white ones.
How can you help?
Spread the word…the major media outlets have kept silent about most of the human rights violations at Standing Rock. The more the people know…the more likely the police will be held accountable for their crime
Independent writer, Bob Lewis (me) is a father of four, grandfather of two, who lives in Washington State. You can read more from him here.