The Intercept: Standing Rock Demonstrators File Class Action Lawsuit Over Police Violence

by Alleen Brown for The Intercept

Pipeline demonstrators injured by rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and water cannons during a wintry nighttime standoff with police last week filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against the sheriff of the North Dakota county involved. The suit describes in new detail the evening of November 20, when more than 200 people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline were injured by “less-than-lethal” weapons.

The lawsuit alleges that sheriff’s deputies and police officers used excessive force when they deployed impact munitions, like rubber bullets, as well as explosive tear gas grenades and water cannons against protesters. It argues that the tactics were retaliatory, punishing those involved for exercising free speech rights. It also argues that officers were inadequately trained to handle the situation, naming Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler, and Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Keiser as defendants.

Plaintiffs, represented by the National Lawyers Guild’s Water Protectors Legal Collective, requested a restraining order and preliminary injunction that would bar officers from using such weapons against people protesting the Dakota Access pipeline. The suit awaits a decision from a federal judge on whether to approve class-action status.

Read the full article at The Intercept