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Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair: DOJ Must Investigate Use of Force Against #DAPL Resistance

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“I knew North Dakota state was planning something,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II of the raid on a resistance camp Thursday by militarized police. “They set up a pre-hospital tent near the camp. … That was sending me signals this was going to get out of hand.” Archambault says he asked the Department of Justice to step in and ask the state not to proceed with the raid, and now calls on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the use of force against those resisting the Dakota Access pipeline.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: For more on the escalating standoff at Standing Rock, we’re joined by the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman, Dave Archambault. He’s asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the use of force against those resisting the Dakota Access pipeline.

Chairman Dave Archambault, thanks so much for joining us. What have you asked the DOJ, and what have they told you, as this heavily militarized police off—standoff against the Native Americans of your tribe and so many others?

DAVE ARCHAMBAULT II: Thank you, Amy, for having me on here. You know, I approached the Department of Justice a couple days ago, because I knew that the North Dakota state was planning something. They deployed—the North Dakota Department of Human Services set up a pre-hospital tent near the camp. And that brought concern to me. That was telling me, sending me signals that, you know, this is going to get out of hand. So I asked the Department of Justice to step in and ask the state not to come forward with the raid. I also asked them to talk to the company, Dakota Access pipeline, and stop construction, cease construction. This is getting too out of hand.

And so, what they ended up coming back with was the state is ready to negotiate. The state is willing to sit down and talk to you. But the company was not willing to stop construction. They want to force their hand on everybody. And it’s pitting the protesters, protectors, demonstrators, up against law enforcement. And law enforcement is starting to use severe aggression, severe force on our members, on all of those who support us, who are there with us. And it’s unlawful.

Now, we are asking the Department of Justice to hold the state accountable. They knew this was going to happen. They knew it was coming forward. So did the company. They just keep pushing forward, and they box us into the corner, and they expect us to let it be.

And right now what we’re trying to do is protect water. That’s the whole thing, is just protect water. Why is that such a hard thing for the state understand? Why is it such a hard thing for the company to understand? We need to help the world realize what is going on here, and understand the importance of water and the treatment to our members, to our supporters, the unlawful treatment. If you ask yourself, “Who has the weapons? And who is praying? Who”—if you look at the videos, you’ll see people praying and singing, and then you’ll see militarized law enforcement with weapons. They’re the ones who have weapons. They’re the ones who are being aggressive. And they’re the ones who are causing harm. We had over 30 to 40 people with severe bruises, welts from rubber bullets, broken bones from the harsh treatment. It’s just not right.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, very quickly, LRAD, the long-range acoustic device, the piercing sounds that make people sick; the armored vehicles, the MRAPs—where does the police department—where does the Morton County Sheriff’s Department get these military weapons?

DAVE ARCHAMBAULT II: You know, why can’t we have somebody come in and stop that and get some weapons out of their possession, get these weapons out of their possession? Because it’s unnecessary. We need some—we need the federal government to step in and start protecting us from the state officials. It’s uncalled for. And I don’t know where they get the weapons. I’m assuming the National Guard is doing it.

And we need—maybe it’s the U.N. that needs to step in to keep the peace, because the federal government, the United states, all we have to do is deny this easement, and this will all go away. Reroute this pipeline, and this will all go away. Save—protect our water, this will all go away. Deny the easement. President Obama needs to step up now, deny the easement. Hillary Clinton needs to make a firm statement about this and stop trying to ride the fence. We want people to have safe jobs, too, but we want them also to have safe drinking water. And for her to say that—we’ll let the union workers reroute this pipeline away from water, and we’ll protect them so they have safe jobs and everybody’s happy. All the politicians, all the people who get oil industry contributions for their campaigns, the economy, the national security, the energy independence will all be there. Just reroute this, deny the easement, and let’s put an end to this, once and for all.

AMY GOODMAN: Dave Archambault, we want to thank you for being with us, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. We’re going to take a short 30-second break and then go to talk about Venezuela. Stay with us.

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