Like a “Concentration Camp” Police Mark DAPL Protesters with Numbers and Lock Them in Dog Kennels

dapl-concentration-camp-thumbBy Claire Bernish

On Thursday, police from no less than five states sporting full riot gear and armed with heavy lethal and nonlethal weaponry, pepper spray, mace, a number of ATVs, five tanks, two helicopters, and military-equipped Humvees showed up to tear down an encampment of Standing Rock Sioux water protectors and supporters armed with … nothing.

Under orders from the now-notorious Morton County Sheriff’s Office, this ridiculously heavy-handed standing army came better prepared to do battle than some actual military units fighting overseas.

But the target of their operation — a group of slightly more than 200 Native American water protectors and supporters opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline — never intended to do battle with the armed, taxpayer-funded, corporate-backed, state-sponsored aggressors.

Reports vary, but no less than 141 people were arrested Thursday, and — according to witnesses — police marked numbers on arrestees’ arms and housed them in cement-floored dog kennels, without any padding, before they were transported as far away as Fargo.

“It goes back to concentration camp days,” asserted Oceti-Sakowin coordinator Mekasi Camp-Horinek, who, along with his mother, was marked and detained in a mesh kennel, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Although Thursday’s incident remained relatively peaceful for some time, with only shouts, chants, and occasional attempts by water protectors to convince this standing army to examine its motives and reconsider, clashes nonetheless broke out — solely because of gratuitous police aggression.

After facing off for a couple hours, these militant cops began closing in on the water protectors to shut down the Treaty of 1851 camp — in reference to the Fort Laramie Treaty of that year, which established a large parcel of land designated exclusively Native American territory not to be disturbed by the U.S. government. Prior to his arrest, Camp-Horinek had established the camp, stating, as cited by Indigenous Rising:

Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights. This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action.  We are still staying non-violent and we are still staying peaceful.

Despite the water protectors’ commitment to nonviolence, the militarized police response went as would be expected — horribly awry.

“A prayer circle of elders, including several women, was interrupted and all were arrested for standing peacefully on the public road,” stated a press release from Indigenous Environment Network. “A tipi was erected in the road and was recklessly dismantled, despite law enforcement statements that they would merely mark the tipi with a yellow ribbon and ask its owners to retrieve it. A group of water protectors was also dragged out of a sweat lodge ceremony erected in the path of the pipeline, thrown to the ground, and arrested.”

Claims to the contrary by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier aside, Native American and Indigenous water protectors and supporters have refrained from violent acts on the whole, preferring instead peaceful prayer vigils and acts of civil disobedience.

No matter how peacefully the opposition acts, armed defenders of Big Oil interests seem determined to brutalize, disrespect, and generally incite and inflict violence against those who desire unsullied water for generations to come.

In fact, at the beginning of September, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for pipeline construction, indiscriminately unleashed vicious attack dogs on water protectors, press, and supporters — for reasons as yet unknown.

During the savage attack, a pregnant woman, young girl, and many others suffered serious dog bites thanks to the ineptitude of the dogs’ handlers. Afterward, a warrant for inciting a riot was issued Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman — for doing her job, filming events as they happened — though charges were subsequently thrown out.

Although ETP and some law enforcement officers defended the barbarous actions of the private security mercenaries, the Guardian now reports that — because the guards lacked proper licensing — they could now face criminal charges. On Wednesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office made the determination that “dog handlers were not properly licensed to do security work in the state of North Dakota.”

Bob Frost, owner of Ohio-based Frost Kennels, told the Guardian, “All the proper protocols … were already done. I pulled my guys out the next day because we weren’t there to go to war with these protesters.”

Frost insisted he had cooperated with authorities investigating the incident — but the sheriff’s department disagrees. Seven handlers and dogs were deployed to the scene in early September, allegedly in response to reports of trespassers; but, according to the Guardian, police have only managed to identify two people.

The sheriff’s department claims Frost has not provided necessary information, and unnamed security officials cited in the report said that “there were no intentions of using the dogs or handlers for security work. However, because of the protest events, the dogs were deployed as a method of trying to keep the protesters under control.”

In a statement cited by the Guardian, Morton County Captain Jay Gruebele said, “Although lists of security employees have been provided, there is no way of confirming whether the list is accurate or if names have been purposely withheld.”

Water protectors, in the meantime, are left to deal with absurdly disproportionate state violence — and the altogether unacceptable, disrespectful, and demeaning insult of being relegated to dog kennels after being arrested for exercising their rights.

As Lakota Country Times editor, Brandon Ecoffey, wrote in an editorial Thursday,

Over the course of the last several months the abuse of detainees by Morton County Law Enforcement has overstepped every boundary guaranteed by the American constitution. Water protectors have been seen being bound and hooded by police. People are being stripped searched and abused within their jail for misdemeanor crimes. And police have employed the use of mass surveillance through drones on the protector camps. This isn’t a war zone this is North Dakota.

Claire Bernish writes for, where this article first appeared.

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13 Comments on "Like a “Concentration Camp” Police Mark DAPL Protesters with Numbers and Lock Them in Dog Kennels"

  1. Government works for its masters not the people.

  2. When I read this I thought, please tell me this is not true. A truly evil government run by the corporations and shadow government, U.N. CFR and all the filth.

  3. If you look at history and all the evil done by men in uniform, you know it can happen here also. In fact I think American people because of our culture are prone to be even more cruel than the people in other countries in the past.

  4. With the exception of the idiot shooting (which I’d want proof of to be honest), all the things you list are non-violent. Blocking highways, bridges, burning tires and “a dump truck” are not violent. Violence can’t be inflicted against inanimate objects, only living things. Trespass has specific meanings in North Dakota statute, so you’d need to prove those things if you wish to claim that.

    You seem to be mixing up the idea of “peaceful” with “inconspicuous and quiet”, a common tactic of someone who doesn’t actually understand the right to protest.

  5. Unforgiveable. Notice how not one name of a responsible person is mentioned. Vague corporate orders made to vague military groups, and it is supposed to be legal? Where is the governor of this state? Where is the president of this country? Hiding in their own dog kennels?

  6. Back to the old, “arbeit macht frei”, eh? Just a matter of time before it happened.

  7. Danel Riqar’s only flaw in the post below I see is that authority
    worship has over balanced (I don’t know from the name if its she or he?)
    their perspective on rights and legitimate authority by the consent of
    the governed?
    Police become military when they use military gear and
    tactics. In general elected or appointed officials swear to an oath of
    office. The oath contains ” I will support and defend the Constitution
    of the United States against ALL enemies Foreign AND domestic ”
    you violate the the Constitution by law or deed knowingly or unknowingly, you have become an
    enemy. If your a domestic office holder of the public trust and violate your oath or the Constitution and bill of rights mandates, your GUILTY of treason.
    We ARE a nation of laws. The public
    obeys AND officials obey. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights rider
    is meant to keep a leash and muzzle primarily on GOVERNMENT. If a jury doesn’t understand their responsibilities and are too ignorant to nullify unjust laws, how do they know enough to tell judges and prosecutors NO ! We WON’T convict as this law is wrong. The JURY rules in court the judge is a sideline referee at best.
    founders and framers knew government can be corrupt through human nature
    and designed it so that an out of control sector or the whole gov can
    be abolished and returned to the people and the mandates of the
    Constitution. If we allow the deep state and it’s manipulators to bait us into
    rioting and violence, then that Constitution can be suspended and Obama
    will stay in office to accomplish their will.The manipulators always stay three to five steps
    ahead of the masses so they can control both outcomes. No Hillary? Then
    we’ll use Obama without the protections afforded by the Constitution which IS better for them anyway. Can’t have that either? Well we will finagle a war!
    Wake up Boobus Americanus before fork says the Christmas goose is done?

  8. A die hard “constrictive” that thinks the government has the right to steal people land and is perfectly reasonable, but opposes the police state and is for the constitution.
    Your a redcoat. I support the protesters right to water the tree of liberty.

  9. Edgardo L. Perez-De Leon | October 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm |

    Elizabeth Warren allege tobe American Indian? What is happening with her? She is campaigning for Killary. Does she want her people killed?

  10. Do you have no understanding of their spiritual belief in non-violence? We ALL need to be doing what they’re doing.

  11. while our young men were fighting and dying to end Fascism during WWII, the ruling elite in the US were learning how to do it better.

  12. Boo hoo! You were locked in a dog cage for breaking the law. At least you weren’t SHOT DEAD like some of the Mulheur protesters. Crybabies.

  13. Do you realize that we are seeing the clamping down of the global dominion that was prophesied of thousands of years ago in the ancient scriptures, and that there will be no successful resistance to this tyrannical empire? Imagine how difficult it will be to get 10 people together when the power goes out. God still forgives sins. That is why Jesus came to the earth at the first. When He returns, He will not be coming to be ridiculed, mocked, spat upon nor pierced. He comes with a flaming vengeance against all of His enemies. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved:)

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