Lakebay man recalls Standing Rock protest arrest

There has also been significant protesting out near the Missouri River. 141 people were arrested in late October. One of those charged is from Western Washington.

AUBURN, Wash. -- Nearly a month ago, Daniel John was in a North Dakota jail cell, though he describes it as an empty dog kennel.  John, a Puyallup tribal member, was one of 141 people arrested while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.

"I felt the urge to stand my ground with them," said John, 38, "Everybody there as water protectors are non-violent and peaceful.  The police there don't care.  They're there to do their job and make sure the pipeline goes through."

Court records show John faces three charges in Morton County, ND, including a felony allegation of Endangering by Fire or Explosion.

"I'm a little bit nervous," explained John, who is back in court December 5, "I'm facing some pretty serious charges."

John, who lives in Lakebay, said he and his cousin were helping protect a group of elders praying at the protest site.  That's when a trio of police officers approached.

"(The officers) threw me to the ground and hit me with a baton," described John, "For peacefully protesting.  I had no weapons."

Law enforcement calls the protesters aggressive.  At the time, they acted because the protesters were on private property, a contention John denies.

More than 500 people have been arrested protesting the $3.8 billion pipeline.  Construction is being delayed, but the company behind the project still expects it to be approved by the federal government.

Earlier this week, police used tear gas and water cannons in freezing conditions to break up protesters.

"It angers me," said John, "That they'd take such drastic measures on peaceful protesters.  Key word, peaceful."

Copyright 2016 KING


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