North Dakota Water Protectors face trumped up charges from Morton County

Law enforcement in Morton County made over 700 arrests since last September

  • First signs of Morton County’s inability to handle the legal proceedings for mass arrests are beginning to show

  • Those arrested were given numbers that were written on their arm with marker

  • Angie Spencer uploaded two pictures to her Facebook account that shows her charges being trumped up since her arrest

With over 700 arrests made by law enforcement in Morton County, North Dakota during the last six months, it comes as no surprise that the judicial system for the area is going to face some serious problems over the next few years.

To put things in perspective, during the most heated months of the Ferguson protests over 400 hundred were arrested. Over two years later, the court system is still struggling to finish court proceedings.

Morton County’s judicial system simply is not big enough to handle all the court cases that stem from these mass arrests. Aside from Morton County facing problems with the legal proceedings, water protectors are claiming their charges are being trumped up.

Trumped Up Charges

On Tuesday, Angie Spencer posted two pictures to her Facebook. One picture shows her arm after she was arrested in Standing Rock. Like many others, after she was arrested Morton County wrote “118 trespass NDHP 262.”

With so many arrests happening, Morton County law enforcement wrote identification numbers on people’s arms instead of using their names. Along with an identification number, they also wrote the charge and the arresting officer. In Spencer’s case, her arm meant that she had been arrested for trespassing by North Dakota Highway Patrol Officer 262.

Luckily Spencer took this picture. Many who are claiming their charges are being unfairly trumped up do not have evidence of their charge at the time of arrest.

In Spencer’s post she explains that she was arrested on October 27, 2016 for trespass. Her first court appearance was scheduled for December 5, 2016, but was cancelled and rescheduled for February 14, 2017. That date was also cancelled, and now Spencer’s first court date is scheduled for September 7, 2017.

The Grim Reality

Since the last rescheduling, Spencer was shocked when she received a letter telling her what her charges were. Instead of trespass, Spencer is now charged with Offense: Endangering By Fire Or Explosion, Maintaining A Public Nuisance, and Engaging In A Riot/Mob.

Spencer’s case is the grim reality of what people can expect over the coming years from the Morton County judicial system. Her case is already a mess and she has not even started her trial yet. Facing trumped up charges is already terrifying by itself, even worse, Spencer is one of over 700. How many others are facing this same injustice?

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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