The surprising refusal of the Department of Justice to provide assistance to law enforcement in North Dakota not only comes on the heels of a request for a meeting between the Attorney General and the head of the National Sherriff’s Association, it also follows a letter signed by Senators Heitkamp (D) and Hoeven (R) and Representative Cramer (R) of North Dakota urging for more federal support.
The bi-partisan letter calls for the DOJ, alongside the Department of the Interior, and Corps of Engineers, to provide additional support for law enforcement in the interest of public safety.
According to the letter, current expenditures in the state have totaled:
• $1.8 million by county sheriffs’ departments.
• $3.75 million by state law enforcement
Future expenditures range between $750,000 to $1 million PER WEEK as long as protests continue, a level of spending that is not sustainable for the state of North Dakota.
To date, 143 individuals have been arrested, many with violent prior convictions, and a vast majority of whom are not North Dakota residents.
These expenses will ultimately impact the taxpayers of North Dakota, who are already living under the physical threats from the protesters. So far trespassing, property destruction, slaughter of livestock, and intimidation of residents and motorists are only a few of the activities associated with the protests. But with swelling numbers of protesters and limited resources for law enforcement, without federal support these protests have the very real possibility of descending further into lawlessness.