In an editorial published today, the Bismarck Tribune supported the actions of law enforcement to remove protesters from private land, and to clear a roadblock from a public highway. According to the paper, “there were obvious violations of the law.”
The paper also correctly characterized the operation to remove protesters following their failure to comply with police orders to withdraw from private property; “To the outside world it may have appeared like a military operation, but law enforcement needed to protect themselves. Overall, the operation went smoothly with no serious injuries. It’s unfortunate the situation came to this, but some of the protesters refused to back off.”
This has been the case for several months now in North Dakota. Protesters have encouraged law enforcement to arrest them by failing to comply with instructions to come down off of equipment, to not cross fence lines onto private property, and to maintain a safe distance from public roads. Protesters often have failed to comply and put public safety and the safety of workers in jeopardy which has led to arrests. To then claim that they have been treated unfairly is a gross mischaracterization of police operations, which have taken place only to ensure the rule of law and public safety.
Physical resistance to law enforcement is mounting, and it has begun to divide the protest camps according to the Tribune, “There seems to be some discontent in the camps with dissatisfaction growing over the more militant factions. Some would like to see them evicted. Part of the problem is the reluctance of the protesters to admit to any wrong. They don’t want to concede that law enforcement encountered resistance, not just verbal but physical. During Thursday’s removal of protesters, Tribune video captured protesters arguing over tactics. One was trying to put out a fire while encouraging others to retreat. Another urged protesters to stand their ground and force the issue. He wasn’t seeking a prayerful response.”
Law enforcement has put themselves on the front lines to protect the community, and to ensure the safety of the public amid the increasingly violent protests. It is encouraging to see media like the Bismarck Tribune come out in defense of law enforcement, when so many other outlets appear only to be interested in telling the story from the side of protesters who continue to mischaracterize their own actions as peaceful, when they have only incited violence and lawlessness.