North Dakota — Widespread outrage over both the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and violent police crackdowns rages on. That outrage is spreading even to police agencies now returning from deployment to the reservation. Two departments have already refused to return, citing personal and public objections. As if that wasn’t enough, an army of sympathizers is re-purposing social media to combat police efforts in Standing Rock.
Minnesota’s Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department is among that group. Lawmakers, according to MPR News, found police activities in Standing Rock “inappropriate.” It’s to the point where they’re considering rewriting legislation to avoid future deployments to incidents like the pipeline resistance.
Police officials, of course, declined to comment on their return from North Dakota or their feelings on what’s happening there. It’s also made the task of rebuilding trust with the community an even loftier uphill battle. “I do not support Sheriff Stanek’s decision to send his deputies to North Dakota,” says LT. Governor Tina Smith, “nor did we approve his decision to begin with. I do not have any control over the Sheriff’s actions, which I think were wrong, and I believe he should bring his deputies home if he hasn’t already.”
Smith’s comments split the state’s government, however, and she was targeted. Minnesota State Rep. Tony Cornish condemned Smith for prioritizing “the rights of protesters over the needs of law enforcement,” saying she should apologize to the cops.
Sheriffs from Wisconsin’s Dane County were more empathetic, pulling out and refusing to return. According to the Bismarck Tribune, Sheriff Dave Mahoney made the decision after a “wide cross-section of the community” decried the deployment. “All share the opinion that our deputies should not be involved in this situation,”says Mahoney. Dane County’s deputies were deployed to Standing Rock for around a week. Sources report Dane County wasn’t involved in recent arrests, a string of which scooped up an alderwoman from Madison Wisconsin.
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