Tensions were already high on the land where the Dakota Access Pipeline is supposed to run through when law enforcement arrived on the scene, but nobody was expecting the heavily-militarized officers to open fire on journalists at the scene. Yet this is precisely what happened, with police shooting rubber bullets at at least one reporter on the scene.
“As Fusion reports, Erin Schrode, an activist and journalist, was doing an interview at the edge of the Cantapeta Creek when police shot her with a rubber bullet. In her video of the incident, Schrode can be heard screaming, ‘Ow!' before crumbling to the ground.
In a post on Facebook, Schrode described the incident, noting that police shot her at point blank range. In spite of being a non-lethal round, there have been documented incidents of police killing people with rubber bullets from such a close range.
I was just shot. Militarized police fired at me from point blank range with a rubber bullet on the front lines of Standing Rock.
My body will be okay, but I am hurting, I am incensed, I am weeping, I am scared. Peaceful, prayerful, unarmed, nonviolent people on one side of a river; militarized police with armed vehicles and assault weapons occupying treaty land on the other, where sacred burial grounds have already been destroyed. What is happening here in North Dakota is like nothing I have ever seen in my life, anywhere in the world. This is a fight to protect and defend the water for 17 million people in the watershed downstream to the Gulf, for a livable planet, for Native and human rights, for the lifeforce of us all. We are at the confluence of the movements for civil rights, for the environment, for peace, for justice. I am proud to stand in solidarity with our Native brothers and sisters – alongside the water protectors and land defenders – who put their lives on the line and are facing excessive force, pepperspray and mace, historic trauma, brutal arrest, imprisonment in dog kennels, felony charges, and callous destruction of sacred objects. This is not about me, but I am here – and will remain here – to cover and amplify truth and bravery on the ground with my colleagues Josh Fox of Josh FoxFilm, Josue Rivas of Josué Rivas Fotographer, Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks, Evan Simon of ABC News. Standing Rock represents the exploitation of a long-oppressed people, illegal land seizure, crude oil transport, media censorship, national security threat, public health crises, and more human rights violations than I can count.”
It is conduct like this that has disgusted even officers participating in the counterprotest efforts, with several reportedly turning in their badges over the affair:
‘There have been at least 2 reports of police officers turning in their badges acknowledging that this battle is not what they signed up for. You can see it in some of them, that they do not support the police actions. We must keep reminding them they are welcome to put down their weapons and badge and take a stand against this pipeline as well. Some are waking up.'
With actions from militarized police continuing to be seen as extremely violent and dangerous, this news is a big win for the water protectors and for humanity as a whole. While the actions of some police officers are not appropriate, we all must continue to visualize and intend/pray that the hearts of all involved in this situation continue to open. Police must be held accountable for their actions, though we must continue to welcome them over to the side of the water protectors.
Having the police lay down their weapons and join the people is the goal. It is also a win-win solution, which is the best case scenario. So what is it that opened the hearts of these two officers?
At the time of this writing, the answer is not known but we can speculate on a few different items.”