Water Protectors go to 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to try and overturn a decision by North Dakota federal court regarding militarized police
The water Protector Legal Collective filed a class action lawsuit over militarized police actions against water protectors in North Dakota
Militarized police used tear gas, bean bag rounds, and water cannons against unarmed water protectors in freezing temperatures
Judge Hovland recently denied the preliminary injunction motion in a North Dakota federal court
The Water Protector Legal Collective has gone to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to overturn a North Dakota federal court decision upholding the violent actions of law enforcement over several months against those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In specific, the WPLC is referring to the indiscriminate use of bean bag rounds, tear gas, and water cannons against large groups of unarmed water protectors.
Class Action Lawsuit
The class action lawsuit was filed on November 25, 2016, on behalf of multiple water protectors who were injured on the night of November 20, into the morning of November 21, 2016. It was during this time that local law enforcement used tear gas, bean bag rounds and water cannons in freezing temperatures.
Morton County Sheriff’s Department, along with assisting agencies, gave little to no warning before they opened fire on the crowd of people. Over 200 people were injured during the attack.
The complaint is led by Vanessa Dundon, who was shot in the eye with a tear gas canister while trying to assist a member of the media off the Backwater Bridge. Jade Kalikolehuaokakalani Wool had two grenades blow up next to her face, which knocked her to the ground and sent shrapnel into her face. Kalikolehuaokaklani had to be taken to the hospital for her injuries.
Crystal Wilson, David Demo, Gary Dullknife III, Mariah Marie Bruce, Frank Finan, Israel Hoagland–Lynn, and Noah Michael Treanor are also named in the suit after being shot with water cannons, bean bag rounds and tear gas.
Judge Hovland denied the preliminary injunction motion, despite acknowledging the factual differences between the two sides. Hovland accepting the narrative from law enforcement stating that they were overrun with violent rioters.
Against the police narrative was at least 50 sworn declarations and hours of footage that was seen around the world. WPLC attorney Rachel Lederman said in a press release, “In this case, the use of this device in sub-freezing temperatures, in my opinion, serves no reasonable purpose and can only be considered a retaliatory and punitive action.”