Woodley charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing, engaging in a riot and inciting a riot, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
October 11, 2016
Mandan, N.Dakota – Monday, Shailene Woodley, 24, the actress of the "Divergent" movie was taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, engaging in a riot and inciting a riot, the Morton County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) confirmed. Woodley was participating at a peaceful demonstration and Native American prayer ceremony at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction site and was streaming live coverage of the event when she was arrested by a Morton County Sheriff deputy after being identified as one of the rioters or water protectors (protesters) trespassing in private property. Woodley posted a $500 fine (cash bail), was released and is scheduled for a court appearance on January 19, 2017, the MCSO reported.
Woodley was among 27 rioters that the MCSO arrested on Monday and since August, there have been 123 people taken into custody involved in protests against the DAPL construction of the crude oil pipline. 25 of those arrested on Monday were charged with criminal trespass, engaging in a riot and inciting a riot including Woodley and two other protesters were charged with felony reckless endangerment for locking or strapping themselves to DAPL equipment.
More than 100 protesters converged at a DAPL site near St. Anthony after learning that a three judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Sunday denied to grant an injunction filing by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to halt DAPL construction at areas near Lake Oahe on the Mississippi River where the tribe had argued would desecrate sacred land and burial sites. The federal appeals court decision clears the way for DAPL to proceed with the construction of a crude oil pipeline up the Oahe Lake, but the Corps of Engineers would still have to approve an easement for the DAPL pipeline to drill under the water to cross the Mississippi River.
The water protectors involved on Monday's demonstrations have disputed the riot charge allegations by the MCSO and Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. They say that it was a peaceful demonstration and prayer ceremony at the DAPL sites and at no moment did they engage in "tumultuous and violent conduct creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons or substantially obstructs law enforcement or other government function" as stipulated in the N. Dakota criminal code. The protesters say that they sang, chanted, played music and burned sage during the prayer ceremony. Several videos posted on Facebook by Woodley and others of the demonstration showed no violence or property damage, despite Sheriff Laney's statement describing that it was a riot and not a peaceful protest during a press conference.
The MSCO released the following news release on Tuesday to Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA). Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney updated information about Monday's protest, which resulted in the arrest of 27 rioters.
At approximately 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, the Morton County Sheriff's Department received a call that two protesters had locked themselves to DAPL equipment southwest of St. Anthony. The two protesters utilized the "sleeping dragon" method to lock themselves to the equipment on private property. They were subsequently arrested and charged with felony charges of reckless endangerment and misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, and criminal trespass; an additional protester was arrested with criminal trespass. After the arrest, the small group disbanded and left the area.
Approximately two hours later, law enforcement received an alert about a large convoy of around 100 vehicles that were assembling about two miles south of St. Anthony on Highway 6. Law enforcement then closed Highway 6 between County Road 138A and Highway 21 due to the large group of rioters. St. Anthony and Flasher schools were notified around 8:30 a.m., per protocol, and they instituted lock-down procedures. Law enforcement officials told them numerous times to leave the area around 10:00 a.m. After the crowd refused to leave, 24 individuals were arrested and charged with a variety of charges, including inciting a riot, engaging in a riot, and criminal trespass.
When asked about the events, Sheriff Laney said, "While some would like to say this was a protest, this was not a protest – this was a riot. When you have that many people engage in that kind of behavior, inciting others to break the law, cheering others on as they do break the law, refusing to leave when they are asked to leave, that's not a protest…Today 27 arrests were made – not because we wanted that to happen, because those people on scene chose for that to happen."
Laney continued, "The other thing I want people to pay attention to is how many North Dakotans are in this bunch…if past behavior is predicting future performance here, you're going to find very few. These are people with an ideology and an agenda that is not from here and they're bringing it here. What started out as a North Dakota issue, with North Dakota people and the Standing Rock tribe, has excelled well past that."
The water protectors and supporters have advocated that "water is life" and that an anticipated major oil spill by the DAPL pipeline could destroy the fresh water Mississippi River for more than 17M people who depend on its life source. The DAPL pipeline once completed will have a flow of more than 500M gallons of crude oil going through the N. Dakota state.