Livestreamer Jon Ziegler becomes the latest journalist to be attacked by Morton County Sheriff’s Department
Law enforcement in the area were crossing over their barricade Wednesday and early Thursday morning
One of the officers appears to yell at Ziegler just seconds before a rubber bullet is fired at the phone he was streaming from
Ziegler and at least one other were taken to the ER and several others were treated for injuries by medics
Members of the media have come to terms with the risks involved with being in Standing Rock. Over the past few months, we have seen journalists wrongfully arrested and injured with a plethora of nonlethal weapons just for reporting the cruel treatment that the water protectors have been receiving.
Early Thursday morning livestreamer Jon Ziegler, also known as Rebelutionary Z, joined the growing list of journalists who have been assaulted, and or arrested, and had their freedom of press completely trampled on by law enforcement in the area.
For months now, Morton County Sheriffs have kept a barricade on the Backwater Bridge just to the north of the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Over that time there has been an unspoken rule between water protectors and police. Water protectors stay on the south side of the barricade, and police stay on the north side.
On Wednesday, officers broke that unspoken agreement by coming to the south side of the barricade and removing a tipi. Water protectors responded by going to the bridge and demanding their tipi be returned. After officers refused to return the stolen property, a group of water protectors began to put a new tipi up.
Police reportedly went to the south side of the barricade once again and began using rubber bullets against water protectors to prevent them from being able to assemble the second tipi. This led to a standoff that went on for hours, until the police would cross the barricade for the third time.
Ziegler was there livestreaming for the majority of the attacks, but it was during his third livestream that he would film himself being shot with nonlethal rounds by approaching law enforcement.
In the last two minutes of Ziegler’s feed, shown below, you can see that police are moving in towards a group of non-threatening water protectors. As officers move closer; you see what appears to be a cloud of pepper spray used against the water protectors. Just moments later, Ziegler is shot twice with nonlethal rounds, first in hand, then in the leg.
In the video, after Ziegler is shot you can hear him yell out, “They just aimed at my fucking camera.” Taking a closer look at the video, it appears Ziegler was right.
The video below is the end of Ziegler’s livestream. At 40 seconds in you can clearly hear someone from the officer’s side yell, “Jon Ziegler.” It is followed by other officers yelling, but sounds as if an officer followed Ziegler’s name with “fall back.” Seconds after you Ziegler’s name he is shot twice with nonlethal rounds.
Ziegler retreated after being shot stating his finger was broken. After the attack, Ziegler posted a picture to his Facebook showing his bloodied and broken hand. The status that went along with the picture read as follows.
The cops were aiming for my phone with rubber bullets, and broke and separated my pinky. Also hit in the thigh..On way to ER now, typing with left hand…
Ziegler was not the only person to be injured by Morton County Sheriffs. At least one other person was taken to the hospital, and several others were treated by medics at Oceti Sakowin.
For the last three days, law enforcement in the area have been using nonlethal rounds, pepper spray, and tear gas on the remaining unarmed water protectors. Despite months of protested unnecessary violence, Morton County Sheriff’s Department clearly do not see any reason to change their violent approach towards unarmed water protectors.